UW-Madison Announces "Political" Cuts

Senator Nass: Chancellor Blank targets cuts at students and faculty.

Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) criticized UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank's announcement of $21 million in cuts and the loss of 400 jobs for the 2015-16 academic year.  Blank highlighted in a press release three highly sensitive areas for the cuts: (1) program closures and mergers; (2)academic offerings and services; and (3) student and faculty support services.

The general plan also calls for shifting $15 million between campus units.  However, the announcement was short of specific details.

"Once again, Chancellor Blank issues an announcement to inflame passions of students and faculty against the Governor and Legislature over the budget without releasing details.  Budget cuts are always an emotional issue and Chancellor Blank is taking every opportunity to be overtly political," Nass said.

Nass noted that it took a press inquiry to clarify that the majority of the 400 positions are currently vacant.  Also, the media reported that the UW-Madison Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance couldn't or wouldn't say how many people might be laid off under the supposed plan.

"Chancellor Blank throws out a big number for position reductions hoping to imply massive layoffs.  However, when pushed for details UW-Madison admits most of the positions are vacant and they don't really know how many current employees might be laid off.  I am shocked by the intentionally deceptive statements from the Chancellor," Nass said.

Nass also raised concerns regarding the level of cuts supposedly being aimed at students and faculty, but very little discussion regarding administrative cuts.  They offered no information on the number of administrators that would be eliminated or how steps would be taken to minimize impacts on students.

"I call on Chancellor Blank to first cut non-instructional administrators with six-figure salaries.  However, it's starting to appear that Chancellor Blank will protect the upper ­echelon and inflict the most pain on students and instructional staff," Nass said.