University of Wisconsin Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank delivers a fiery speech to the UW System Board of Regents about the expected $91 million budget hole. She said it would be the result of Governor Scott Walker’s proposed two-year spending plan, which calls for $300 million in cuts to the UW System.
Blank said now is a time to invest, grow, and build the school, but Walker’s cuts are “just too large” for the university and the state. “We are facing some serious challenges that are going to limit our ability to make the investments that we need to retain this level of quality … because I can promise you our competitors are not standing still.”
Blank said they have to spend around $5 million just to retain quality faculty and staff before other universities swoop in and snag them. She said it’s their number one challenge.
The UW can’t afford not to spend money in this area, she said, otherwise everyone “might as well go home.” Blank explained, “As a result of the headlines this past week, we are going to have a huge increase of outside offers to our faculty. They will come raiding our best faculty. We have to respond.”
Financial gifts are “highly important” to the university, she says, but that money is earmarked for specific purposes. Blank says gifts don’t replace state or federal dollars.
The campus has already had its first casualty from the budget debate, as Blank explains it, a top researcher declined employment consideration fearing the UW would be unable to invest in his research.
During Blank’s impassioned speech on Thursday, the university sent an email seeking financial support from its alums.