UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank announced a package of drastic program and staffing cuts on Friday, as a response to Governor Scott Walker’s $300 million, two-year cut to the University of Wisconsin System.
“Our $36 million plan includes $21 million in budget cuts and redirects an additional $15 million from other campus units to our overall educational mission,” Blank said in a statement. “This plan includes the elimination of approximately 400 positions. It begins to bridge, but does not fill, a structural deficit that may be as much as $96 million as a result of state budget cuts in the upcoming fiscal year. The nonresident undergraduate tuition increases approved by the Board of Regents on April 10 will provide another $17.5 million in new revenue. There will remain, however, a significant deficit.”
Blank said the reductions have been planned and will be carried deans and directors on the Madison campus, who know best which programs can be cut while minimizing the impact on students and the university’s core educational mission. She said campus leaders are sharing information about their plans for budget cuts in their units.
Blank said that all parts of campus will feel the effects of these cuts. Among the areas affected
- Program closures and mergers: Several programs across campus will be ended or restructured, including in the areas of information technology, agriculture, and the arts.
- Academic offerings and services: The job eliminations will likely lead to larger classes and fewer course options. Reductions in advising services may hurt time to degree and retention.
- Support services: Services that support students, faculty and staff, such as information technology, will be reduced. We will invest less in maintaining our buildings and facilities.
The Republican governor announced the cuts to UW System earlier this as part of his proposed two-year state spending plan. Walker also proposed creation of a public authority to provide the UW System with greater autonomy, but legislative leaders have been cool to that idea. And the most recent Marquette Law School opinion poll indicates that voters may not be on board with the cuts. The poll found that seventy percent oppose cutting $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System budget; 26 percent support this.