Topics Map > Office of the Secretary of the Faculty > Faculty Senate > Senate Minutes

Faculty Senate Minutes 2015-06-09

University of Wisconsin--Madison

shared governance document

9 June, 2015

Chancellor Rebecca Blank called the meeting to order at 3:34 p.m. with 143 voting members present (111 needed for quorum).

Chancellor Blank provided an opening statement then opened the floor to a question period. Several questions and comments followed.

Chancellor Blank reminded those present of Senate procedures and rules.

Professor William Tracy (District 4) moved adoption of the following motion, which was projected in the room and distributed at the door. Motion seconded.

Proposed Resolution of the UW-Madison Faculty Senate

Whereas, in 1848, the citizens of Wisconsin recognized that public higher education is a worthwhile
investment in the public interest of the State and have since invested billions of their hard-earned dollars in
creating one of the finest university systems in the world; and

Whereas, “academic freedom is the freedom to discuss and present scholarly opinions and conclusions
regarding all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative
expression, and to reach conclusions according to one's scholarly discernment. It also includes the right to
speak or write – as a private citizen or within the context of one’s activities as an employee of the university
– without institutional discipline or restraint on matters of public concern as well as on matters related to
professional duties, the functioning of the university, and university positions and policies” (Faculty Policies
and Procedures 8.01.B.); and

Whereas, in 1894, the Board of Regents proclaimed that "Whatever may be the limitations that trammel
inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that
continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found”; and

Whereas, in 1964, the Board of Regents wrote “In adopting this codification of the rules and regulations of
the University of Wisconsin relating to tenure, the Regents reaffirm their historic commitment to security of
professorial tenure and to the academic freedom it is designed to protect. These rules and regulations are
promulgated in the conviction that in serving a free society the scholar must himself be free. Only thus can he
seek the truth, develop wisdom and contribute to society those expressions of the intellect that ennoble
mankind. The security of the scholar protects him not only against those who would enslave the mind but also
against anxieties, which divert him from his role as scholar and teacher. The concept of intellectual freedom
is based upon confidence in man's capacity for growth in comprehending the universe and on faith in
unshackled intelligence. The university is not partisan to any party or ideology, but it is devoted to the
discovery of truth and to understanding the world in which we live. The Regents take this opportunity to
rededicate themselves to maintaining in this university those conditions which are indispensable for the
flowering of the human mind”; and

Whereas, UW System’s universities are devoted to the search for truth, which underlies every purpose of the
UW system. These purposes include the development of human resources, the discovery and dissemination
of knowledge and the extension and application of such knowledge everywhere within the borders of the state
and beyond; and

Whereas, Omnibus Motion #521, passed by the Joint Committee on Finance on May 29, 2015, contains in
item 39 the following language that would redefine tenure, “Specify that the board may layoff or terminate a
tenured faculty member, or layoff or terminate a probationary faculty member prior to the end of his or her
appointment, when such an action is deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision requiring
program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection,” thereby eviscerating the fundamental
protections of academic freedom afforded by tenure and negating recognized tenure provisions followed by
all major US universities, including our peers; and

Whereas, Omnibus Motion #521, passed by the Joint Committee on Finance on May 29, 2015, contains in
item 39 the following language redefining shared governance such that “the budget or program decisions
made to discontinue, curtail, modify, or redirect a program would not be subject to review in the hearing” by
the faculty hearing committee; and

Whereas, Omnibus Motion #521, passed by the Joint Committee on Finance on May 29, 2015, contains in
item 35 language redefining shared governance such that “the faculty of each institution would have the
primary responsibility for advising the Chancellor regarding academic and educational activities and
faculty personnel matters subject to the responsibilities and powers of the Board, President and Chancellor”
[emphasis added] as opposed to deciding such matters as under current law; and

Whereas, Omnibus Motion #521, passed by the Joint Committee on Finance on May 29, 2015, contains in
item 38 language redefining shared governance such that “with regard to the responsibilities of the faculty,
academic staff, and students of each institution, ‘subject to’ means ‘subordinate to’”; and

Whereas, regent and system policy cannot supersede state statute; and

Whereas, if adopted, such statutory legislative language would conflict with any regent or institutional
policies recognizing tenure and shared governance principles that would be recognized as adequate by the
American Association of University Professors; and

Whereas, if adopted, the proposed language will lead to the demoralization and/or departure of substantial
numbers of faculty, will have negative repercussions for recruiting outstanding new faculty, and will
seriously damage UW‐Madison’s national competitiveness and the faculty’s ability to grow the economic
future of the state and to serve its students and its citizens, preventing the accomplishment of its primary
mission through the Wisconsin Idea; and

Whereas, erosion of the quality of the faculty and the university’s national and international reputation will
diminish the value of a University of Wisconsin degree, and its instructional, research and outreach
excellence; and

Whereas, the faculty condemn any changes to the university’s tenure and shared governance policies that are
inconsistent with those of our peers or with general professional standards.

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison calls on the
Joint Committee on Finance and/or State Legislature to strike all non‐fiscal language contained in Omnibus Motion #521 from the Omnibus Bill.

Be it further resolved that the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison calls on President
Ray Cross to use all means at his disposal to call on the Joint Committee on Finance and/or State Legislature
to strike all non‐fiscal language contained in Omnibus Motion #521 from the Omnibus Bill.

Be it further resolved that the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison calls on the Board of
Regents of the University of Wisconsin System to use all means at its disposal to call on the Joint Committee
on Finance and/or State Legislature to strike all non‐fiscal language contained in Omnibus Motion #521 from
the Omnibus Bill.

Be it further resolved that the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison calls on Chancellor
Rebecca Blank of the University of Wisconsin‐Madison to use all means at her disposal to call on the Joint
Committee on Finance and/or State Legislature to strike all non‐fiscal language contained in Omnibus
Motion #521 from the Omnibus Bill.


Ample discussion followed.

Prof. Tracy called the question at 4:54 PM. Seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

The motion to approve the resolution passed by voice vote with one dissenting vote.

Following several additional comments from the floor, the meeting was adjourned at 5:22 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Steven K. Smith
Secretary of the Faculty 




Keywords:faculty policies and procedures   Doc ID:57209
Owner:Taylor D.Group:UW Secretary of the Faculty
Created:2015-10-12 08:45 CSTUpdated:2019-06-25 14:37 CST
Sites:UW Secretary of the Faculty
Feedback:  0   0