The Faculty Council of the University of Wisconsin Colleges — the 13-campus community college segment of the UW system — today became the latest UW faculty to vote “no confidence” in the administration of UW System President Ray Cross and the Board of Trustees. The colleges join a growing bandwagon of colleagues at Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, La Crosse, River Falls, and Stout. Yesterday an extraordinary meeting of the UW Eau Claire faculty voted 127-12 to send a no-confidence resolution to a faculty referendum. The following is the full text of the UW Colleges Faculty Council of Senators resolution, approved by an 11-5-1 vote:
Resolution on Actions by UW System and Board of Regents
We, the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Colleges, have CONFIDENCE in:
● Our students, and their right to access high-quality postsecondary education
● Our students’ limitless abilities to learn and to achieve when that education is meaningfully supported through the retention of long-serving and experienced faculty and staff who, through shared governance, are assured a real voice in guiding academic policies and practices
● The contribution our students return to this state when they are educated not only for the careers of their futures, but for their personal and intellectual growth as citizens
We have further CONFIDENCE in:
● The vital role our institutions play in this state as generators in the economy (through research dollars earned, jobs provided, degrees conferred and skills learned)
● The vital role our research provides to our state, and to the world, in service of its mission of the search for truth
● The vital role our campuses play in our communities, offering continuing education for lifelong learning and forums for political discourse and arts engagement in every corner of the state
And we have CONFIDENCE in the continual and expansive ability of the UW Colleges to embody the principles of the Wisconsin Idea, or in the words of Charles Van Hise, “to bring the beneficent influence of the University” to “every home in the state.”
We have particular CONFIDENCE in the unique mission of the UW Colleges to bring a UW quality education to all residents of Wisconsin, in part by serving thousands of first-generation, low income students; thousands of place-bound returning adult students; and hundreds of military veterans.
Indeed, the UW Colleges have many, many reasons to be CONFIDENT.
Yet, it is because of this confidence in our mission, and our responsibility to it, that we must also stand with our students and stand up for higher education in Wisconsin by stating our LACK OF CONFIDENCE:
● BECAUSE new Board policies react to rather than resist the public disinvestment in higher education; support rather than decry austerity measures that erode the University of Wisconsin System; and damage the long-established and effective system of participatory governance that has given faculty the responsibility as stewards of the institution’s academic mission, motivated by public service and untrammeled inquiry,
● BECAUSE UW System President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents by their actions have overseen a weakening of these traditions and engaged in practices that fall far short of principles of responsible governance in their stewardship of the overall health and integrity of the University;
● BECAUSE UW students deserve access to highly qualified instructors; to up-to-date facilities and curriculum; to pedagogically innovative classrooms; and to a learning environment that balances the cultivation of disciplinary knowledge, high academic standards, and analytical habits of mind with robust support services to help all students succeed;
It is hereby RESOLVED that the UW Colleges Faculty Council expresses NO CONFIDENCE in President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents’ commitment to defend the Wisconsin Idea and extend the benefits of the University to every citizen in the state.
We call upon System President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents to recommit themselves to the Wisconsin Idea by carrying out their responsibilities and working with us to strengthen the quality of our state universities, in particular by working with the state legislature to make a positive case for improved access, affordability, and educational resources for our students; for additional support for scholarship and its associated economic and civic benefits; for greater resources for outreach and services to citizens of the State; and by truly respecting, advancing, and participating in shared governance at the UW System.
May 20, 2016