Sign a petition calling on Chancellor Gary Miller to publicly agree to retain shared governance for students, staff, and faculty and tenure at UWGB in its current form
This petition made change with 227 supporters!
The UWGB-United Executive Council asks that you sign on the following letter petitioning Chancellor Gary Miller:
Dear Chancellor Miller,
As you know, the Wisconsin legislature has radically revised statute concerning rules governing the relations between faculty, staff, students, and public university administrators. We are sure you are as troubled by this development as we are.
Although the final shape of the bill is pending, whatever its ultimate form, it will rescind fundamental guarantees for shared governance that students, faculty, and staff have long enjoyed by statute and by custom, assurances vital to carrying out the mission of our public university.
The bill annuls the guarantee that students are “active participants in the immediate governance of and policy development” for UWGB, reducing the student role instead to one advisory to the Chancellor concerning matters of student life. The bill weakens student control over segregated fees, specifically deleting the part of the bill giving students the “responsibility for the disposition of such fees,” transferring that power instead to the Chancellor.
The bill rescinds the guarantee that academic staff be “active participants in the immediate governance of and policy development” for UWGB, reducing the role of staff to one advisory to the Chancellor regarding “policies and procedures concerning academic staff members,” compromising effective participation in matters affecting their vital interests.
The bill removes the guarantee that faculty should have discretion over matters of curriculum, which deviates from both the tradition of faculty governance over curriculum in the UW system and the American Association of University Professors guidelines for shared governance (see the AAUP’s statement of 1966, which observes that “when an educational goal has been established, it becomes the responsibility primarily of the faculty to determine the appropriate curriculum and procedures of student instruction.”) Specifically, the new bill rescinds the guarantee that faculty share “responsibility for the immediate governance of each institution” and instead guarantees only that they can advise the Chancellor on curricular matters.
The new bill effectively removes guarantees for tenure (and hence academic freedom) from state law by giving individual chancellors the ability, subject to Board of Regents approval, to “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.” Though the Board of Regents has effectively extended tenure protections previously held by law, this extension is only in place until April 2016, rendering it ineffective without further action.
Much of the new bill affords individual university chancellors much wider latitude toward students, staff, and faculty than they previously enjoyed. Even short of a new Board of Regents policy, then, there is much that you can do unilaterally to prevent these changes from drastically impacting the student learning and faculty and staff working conditions here at UWGB.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on you to issue a public, university-wide statement that you will continue to abide by our current culture in the following areas:
You will affirm the right of students to actively participate in the immediate governance and policy development of the university, including the responsibility for distributing the segregated fees that they pay.
You will affirm the rights of academic staff to actively participate in the immediate governance and policy development of the university.
You will affirm the rights of faculty to determine the appropriate curriculum and procedures of student instruction that has been a bulwark of higher education here at UWGB during its first 49 years.
You will only attempt to lay off or terminate either a tenured faculty member or a probationary faculty member in the event that a financial exigency is declared by the Board of Regents, and that you will follow the guidelines established in the faculty handbook for doing so.
A public, campus-wide declaration on your part would serve to avert much of the climate of fear and uncertainty following the radical revision to the law, and would guarantee that the students of our university can continue to access a world-class, twenty-first century education.
The faculty, staff, and students of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
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