University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank told members of the campus community Thursday afternoon, “There are almost surely going to be layoffs in many units across the university. I don’t see how we avoid that. I am very sorry about that.”
Governor Scott Walker has proposed cutting $300 million in state support to the university system over the next two years. UW-Madison’s share of the cut is approximately $120 million over two years.
“As a state agency,” Blank said, “we are willing to do our part to solve the state’s fiscal shortfall,” but it’s just too much.
AUDIO: Blank said she’s looking at all the options. :16
Blank said the cuts are too big to swallow, lack of funding threatens the quality of education, and she said the cuts would threaten the legacy of 166 years of citizen investment in the university. “It is the equivalent of — we’re not doing this, but it is the equivalent of — simply cancelling out and closing down and stopping all business with either the schools of law, nursing, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, or business. Those are our five smallest schools. If we shut all of them down, we wouldn’t quite fill the budget hole.”
Among other ideas, Blank suggested raising tuition for those who can afford to pay more. One person proposed a ten-cent per pint tax on beer sold in taverns during sporting events.
Thursday’s forum was the second of three campus meetings on the proposed cuts. Blank will hold another meeting on campus Friday, 9 to 10 a.m., Ebling Auditorium, Microbial Sciences, 1550 Linden Dr.
(Audio, image via UW System live stream)