Board of Regents Cancels Public Presentation on Campus Budget Cuts
Madison – Today, the Democrats on the Joint Committee on Finance sent a letter to the University Of Wisconsin Board Of Regents regarding their abrupt announcement that they were cancelling a public presentation by UW chancellors about how state funding cuts will be implemented on each campus. As recently as last week chancellors were in the process of preparing their presentations and lawmakers were expecting to be briefed on how their communities would be impacted.
“If the Governor doesn’t want stories in the news about him slashing UW System funding, maybe he should stop slashing UW System funding,” said Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) “Unfortunately for the Governor, cancelling a public meeting on the cuts will not make the public forget that they happened. The UW System is the Wisconsin’s largest job creation engine, and Wisconsinites know the harm these cuts will have on their communities and the state’s economy as a whole.”
“How these dramatic cuts to the UW System will be implemented on a campus-by-campus basis is something Wisconsinites are deeply concerned about,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) “Everyone knows this is not an issue where it is acceptable for each campus to just hand the Regents a stack of papers. So why would the Regents eliminate an opportunity to educate themselves - and the public- on how the cuts will be carried out?”
“The Board of Regents is supposed to advocate for the UW System, especially at times like this when higher education is not being adequately prioritized,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) “The truth is, the Legislature made a decision to gut higher education at a time when most states increased their budget. Those decisions have consequences, and the public has a right to know what those consequences are.”
“News flash, these cuts are real. You can’t just sweep $250 million in cuts to one of Wisconsin’s most valued institutions under the rug,” said Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee). “The public deserves to know what their government is doing all the time, not just during Sunshine Week.”
In the 2015-2017 budget, Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature slashed funding for the UW System by $250 million dollars. The Governor and Legislature’s decision to cut the UW System by $250 million was done during a budget that spent over a $1 billion more than the Governor’s previous budget, and during a time when a significant majority of states are investing more in higher education.