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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Martin addresses faculty's concern over budget deficit

Members of UW-Madison's Faculty Senate discussed the implications of the state's $5.4 billion budget shortfall on the university Monday. 


When faced with the difficult task of comprehending how to deal with the deficit, Chancellor Biddy Martin recalled UW-Madison's core principles. 


Martin said despite the hardship, the university needs to continue to be an accessible and affordable institution while also retaining top-notch faculty. Other core principles include sustaining the university's world-class research, the Wisconsin Idea and communication with external constituents.  


According to Martin, the university is planning to implement a series of forums for faculty members to collaborate in thinking about innovative ways to deal with the budget shortfall. The forums will take place Jan. 15 through 17.  


We need to be more innovative with things we are already doing,"" Martin said. 


In response to the overall budget concern, Martin said the university will be implementing 2.5-percent pay increases for faculty members, instead of a 5.2-percent plan originally approved by the UW System Board of Regents. 


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Members of the senate expressed concern about the decrease in faculty salaries due to the shortfall.  


A member of the zoology department said he was concerned about the decreasing retirement fund facing university professors, citing that up to 10 percent of the department's staff could retire due to the deficit. He said the retirement fund will most likely start to decline after Dec. 30. 


""The retirement fund will decrease after that time and will rise at some point after that '¦ but I do not plan on working here much longer,"" he said.  


Martin said despite the budget deficit, she is optimistic about the implementation of things like domestic-partner benefits, graduate funding and a faculty-retention fund. She said she is not sorry for coming to UW-Madison in a time of economic difficulties. 


""This is a place full of many people who can think outside the box,"" Martin said. ""This is a great place, and I am delighted to be here.

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