Wisconsin AAUP requests state's renewed commitment to public higher education

Following an election that left Wisconsin Republicans again in charge of the legislature and subsequently all future funding for the UW System, the state’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors issued a letter seeking renewed support across the state for higher education.

Michael Mosiscke, acting president of the association’s UW-Madison chapter and other AAUP leaders from UW-Milwaukee, UW-Whitewater and the UW Colleges listed directives to key players in the future of the UW System.

The letter called for state legislators to balance the system’s four-year tuition freeze with adequate funding and reverse changes that removed shared governance and faculty tenure protections from state statute.

“The UW System strategic missions of research, teaching, and outreach are carried out primarily by faculty and staff. They are the ones in the trenches who have the training and experience to build and maintain the best possible university educational quality,” the letter said. “For this reason, we must preserve the authority of faculty and staff to guide university policies.”

Weakening tenure did not save the system money as many expected, the letter argued, as hundreds of faculty and staff flooded out of UW in the first year after the changes were made.

The letter also noted the significant decline in state funding for the UW System, a statistic university leaders across the state have been pointing out for months, and ended with a call for parents, students and alumni to share their “UW story” about how they’ve benefited from their experience in Wisconsin public higher education.

“Describe your educational experience, a cultural event you’ve attended, a continuing education course you took, or a guest lecture you’ve attended,” the letter said. “Make the value of the UW System visible to all the communities in the state.”

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