Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The real misperception about the politics surrounding the University of Wisconsin

This blog has been silent about recent developments aimed at destroying the University of Wisconsin by more rapid defunding, by dismantling tenure and by forbidding shared governance.

We've seen the Board of Regents decline to step up and urge the state not to do these things. We've seen the System president and Madison chancellor reassure us repeatedly that there's really no problem here and then that it's not as bad as it seems and now that they're doing all they can to lessen the damage.

The latest message from our chancellor (here) is intended, among other things, to "help clarify some misperceptions".

The only real misperception here is any failure to understand and to say clearly and directly that the state government — the governor and the assembly and the senate — intends to defund UW, dismantle tenure and destroy shared governance and this is a huge step toward accomplishing those goals. They have been very open about this (e.g. here) and to pretend like things aren't heading that way is maddening.

What do we do? Well, you can run or you can stand and fight. If you choose the latter or have no choice but to stay, there's only one way to go: Organized action. A member of Team Verb posted this list on fb last week; consider it a suggestion to join and be active in the relevant groups:
The TAA has fought more effectively than anybody for UW in a broad sense, and even if you can't join, you should support them. AAUP is our big national ally and word on the street is that the long moribund local chapter is getting going again. PROFS is the key group working with state government (to the extent that is possible at present) and their website is a good source of information about what's happening. There are two small unions on campus for faculty and academic staff, the Wisconsin University Union and United Faculty and Academic Staff. My real hope is that these groups will now all work together ... the stakes could not be higher. 


Anonymous said...

That's right. This assault has been decades in the planning and years in the unfolding so far. We have to fight the current battle but look ahead and keep the full context in mind. None of the statements from 'above' have been reassuring in the least.

Joe said...

I think it's actually a lot worse than this. The Cross and Blank started out by THANKING the legislature ... that doesn't exactly improve your odds of getting changes made now ... and then the Regents TWICE voted against speaking out. Small wonder that people feel like they've been sold down the river.