Friday, April 8, 2011
Wisconsin School of Business Students:
Many of us have been following closely the recent events surrounding the Wisconsin budget bill proposed by Governor Walker, in particular the proposal for Public Authority Status for the UW-Madison campus. As you know, there are new developments in the discussion almost daily, among the Board of Regents, campus chancellors throughout the UW System and legislature. It is a debate that merits our attention for many reasons.
People are naturally concerned about the future, yet we also remain quite hopeful about what may be possible under a public authority option. As you no doubt have seen in the press, there is a tremendous amount of confusion and misinformation regarding this proposal. One major area of confusion comes from lumping discussions of public authority in with the extremely controversial budget repair and collective bargaining bills. Also in the mix is the realization that a major budget cut is on the horizon, perhaps 15 percent. To wade through the complexity of these intertwined issues, I want to encourage everyone to be well informed on the issues being debated and feel comfortable voicing their opinions.
I will hold a Town Hall meeting for business students only on Thursday, April 14, from 5:00-6:00 p.m., in the Executive Dining Room of Grainger Hall. I invite you to join other students to learn more about the proposal and what public authority means, and come with your questions and feedback.
If you are not able to attend the town hall, I encourage you to review the University of Wisconsin-Madison's discussion pages at http://budget.wisc.edu/ and, in particular the piece on myths surrounding the public authority proposal (http://budget.wisc.edu/budget-news/busting-myths-about-the-new-badger-partnership/). The site does an outstanding job of providing background and context, as well as answering many of the questions that have been circulating regarding the proposal. People are naturally concerned about the future, yet we also remain quite hopeful about what may be possible under a public authority option.
I feel strongly that it is important for us all to understand the principles of the public authority model, the framework that it provides for the future of UW-Madison and how it will impact this campus and the state. I hope you will join me next Thursday for an open discussion on the topic.