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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Assault reporting, shared governance face deletions in state budget

Gov. Scott Walker and UW System officials came briefly under fire Friday after a nonpartisan analysis of Walker’s recent budget proposal showed it deletes one of the reporting methods for sexual assaults on UW campuses required under current state law.

Current law requires the System’s Board of Regents to submit an annual report to the state Legislature to prove its campuses are including information about sexual assault in their orientation programs for new students. It also requires that any UW employee who witnesses or hears about a sexual assault on campus to report it to the school’s dean of students. The budget proposal would remove these obligations from state statute.

A spokesperson for Walker said Friday the provisions were included in the proposal at the request of System officials involved in budget negotiations, the Associated Press reported.

“They allow us to focus on one report,” said UW System spokesperson Heather LaRoi in an email Friday. “Many requirements proposed for removal from state statutes are duplicative of federal requirements and reporting standards we comply with and are deeply committed to, such as those within The Clery Act and Title IX.”

The analysis of the budget proposal also found the budget deletes shared governance protections, as expected under the public authority model for the UW System.

Tom Gierok, chair of the Associated Students of Madison’s Legislative Affairs Committee, said last month the shared governance changes would mean students lose their say in the decisions of their respective universities.

Requirements to maintain the minority student scholarship programs, like the Lawton Undergraduate Minority Retention Grant and the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship program, would also be deleted by the budget if it passes in its current form.

UW System officials will appear before the Legislature’s budget committee Tuesday to testify about what the $300 million cut and public authority model will mean for the state’s universities over the next biennium.

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