Thursday, June 09, 2005

Blog break

I will be out of the reach of Wisconsin educational politics for the next few weeks, so there will be a brief hiatus in my blogging. . . .

I'll take up the task again when I return.

An Angry Parent in the Northwestern

As Brian Bain noted in his comment below, the Northwestern published a letter by a parent, decrying the cuts to the UW system. It was nice to see. We'll never know if there have been additional letters to that effect . . . .

See the second letter down.

Oshkosh Northwestern - Professor’s views not newsworthy

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

Wisconsin State Journal: Finding more for UW is a must

Another pro-education editorial board down in Madison:

Wisconsin State Journal

Journal-Sentinal: Editorial: Are they dismantling UW?

Compare the editorial position of the Journal Sentinal with Stew Rieckman's comments.

JS Online: Editorial: Are they dismantling UW?

Wisconsin public radio covers the UW cuts

Ben Meren's show today
featured Louis Molepske, Democratic State Representative from Stevens Point. He is a member of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.


Joy Cardin talked with Chancellor Reily, at this link.

I haven't listened yet, myself, but I'm sure it was better discussion than you can find in local print media.

Oshkosh Northwestern -Rieckman decides ridicule is right response to his newspaper's stupidity

As Stew Rieckman usually does in his Sunday column, he ignores the subtantive complaints about the paper's news coverage and attempts to make fun of his opponents.

You can see his two shots at UWO in his column, linked below, along with his attempt at humor on other topics of the day.

You never realize quite how bad news coverage is until it is you that is being covered. Then you realize that the Northwestern's coverage is full of crap. . .

Oshkosh Northwestern - Don’t jump to conclusions but you can learn much from newspapers

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Oshkosh Northwestern - Politics are polarizing UW budget

Just a quick update. This is the northwestern story for the day--it is more honest about the budget cuts, an improvement from its headline earlier this week.

As usual, it sounds like a press release from the budget slashers in Madison--'we did all we could,' 'it isn't our fault,' blah, blah, blah.

Oshkosh Northwestern - Politics are polarizing UW budget

Friday, June 03, 2005

Madison Chancellor: UW System needs cure, not Band-Aid

The journal-sentinal posted an editorial from John Wiley, chancellor at Madison.

My favorite line: We are witnessing the systematic dismantling of public higher education in Wisconsin. . .

Maybe I can find a job in Minnesota!!

JS Online: UW System needs cure, not Band-Aid

Daily Northwestern Update

The Northwestern ran a front page story today, entitled "UWO Grant funds spike." The story is a nice feature, about how much money the university brings in. The headline is, as usual, a boneheaded one--what does spike mean in this context? The suggestion is that there is something temporary or unusual in the fact that we bring in lots of outside funds to support our research agendas. Perhaps they are suggesting that they hope that the numbers drop again, once we are all forced to teach more.

They also published the letter to the editor from Tom Lammers.

Tony's comments on journalistic ethics

Tony Palmeri added gannett's own ethical policy. I want to post it here, so it doesn't get lost.

The coverage of the Northwestern on the university budget cuts seems to violate their own policy on many accounts.

Take a look:

In its reporting and editorializing about the UW, the Oshkosh Northwestern has managed to violate many of Gannett's Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms. The principles are:

Seeking and reporting the truth in a truthful way

* We will dedicate ourselves to reporting the news accurately, thoroughly and in context.
* We will be honest in the way we gather, report and present news.
* We will be persistent in the pursuit of the whole story.
* We will keep our word.
* We will hold factual information in opinion columns and editorials to the same standards of accuracy as news stories.
* We will seek to gain sufficient understanding of the communities, individuals and stories we cover to provide an informed account of activities.

Serving the public interest

* We will uphold First Amendment principles to serve the democratic process.
* We will be vigilant watchdogs of government and institutions that affect the public.
* We will provide the news and information that people need to function as effective citizens.
* We will seek solutions as well as expose problems and wrongdoing.
* We will provide a public forum for diverse people and views.
* We will reflect and encourage understanding of the diverse segments of our community.
* We will provide editorial and community leadership.
* We will seek to promote understanding of complex issues.

Exercising fair play

* We will treat people with dignity, respect and compassion.
* We will correct errors promptly.
* We will strive to include all sides relevant to a story and not take sides in news coverage.
* We will explain to readers our journalistic processes.
* We will give particular attention to fairness in relations with people unaccustomed to dealing with the press.
* We will use unnamed sources as the sole basis for published information only as a last resort and under specific procedures that best serve the public’s right to know.
* We will be accessible to readers.

Maintaining independence

* We will remain free of outside interests, investments or business relationships that may compromise the credibility of our news report.
* We will maintain an impartial, arm’s length relationship with anyone seeking to influence the news.
* We will avoid potential conflicts of interest and eliminate inappropriate influence on content.
* We will be free of improper obligations to news sources, newsmakers and advertisers.
* We will differentiate advertising from news.

Acting with integrity

* We will act honorably and ethically in dealing with news sources, the public and our colleagues.
* We will obey the law.
* We will observe common standards of decency.
* We will take responsibility for our decisions and consider the possible consequences of our actions.
* We will be conscientious in observing these Principles.
* We will always try to do the right thing.

You can find the list online here:

Data to support Babblemur's contentions

There are a growing number of jobs in higher education, however they are dominated by part-time, non-tenure track positions.

For most administrators, these are probably financial decisions--they love to be able to fire people at will--but as we have seen there are serious ideological consequences as well. There is no room for complain when your boss can simply not renew your contract. No due process, no appeal, no nothing. . . .

Inside Higher Ed :: The Tenure Track Shrinks

The Budget battle as a culture war

Babblemur has posted an essay, arguing that the budget fight is really a culture war, punishing the university system for disagreeing with their right-wing political agenda.

I think that he is definitely on to something, as the strongest voices in favor of cutting education are those who complain most loudly about Ward Churchill.

Check out his opinion, and feel free to add your own comments!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Chancellor's message on the latest cuts

June 2,

TO: University Community

FROM: Richard H. Wells, Chancellor

Yesterday’s action by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee to cut an additional $40.3 million from the 2005-2007 UW System budget is disheartening. As System President Kevin Reilly says, it will diminish our capacity to provide the state more baccalaureate and graduate degree holders, more high-paying jobs and a brighter economic future. It will hurt students, faculty and staff.

Actually, it could have been even worse, if not for efforts by area legislators such as Dean Kaufert, Carol Roessler and Gregg Underheim to thwart a proposal that would have meant nearly $50 million in additional cuts.

And the budget process is not over yet. The Assembly and the Senate must both vote on the budget, and then it must get the signature of the governor. We must all work hard to try to soften the impact of the cuts that the governor and the committee have proposed.

Whatever happens, we will proceed with our current campus budget plans for fiscal year 2005. A final budget may not be approved until late summer. Any additional budget cuts will be made largely in the second year of the biennium, after we carefully analyze all of our options.

With signs of an improving state economy, I hope the governor and the legislature will consider a budget repair bill during the biennium and restore some funding to UW, which has suffered significantly more than its fair share of state budget cuts since 2001.

Chancellor Richard H. Wells

Statement by UW System President Kevin Reilly on June 1 Joint Finance Committee action on UW budget:

“This afternoon, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance voted to cut the University’s budget by $40.3 million in 2005-07, from the level proposed by the Governor. This cut follows others of $50 million in 2001-2003, $250 million in 2003-2005, and cuts and reallocations of $65 million required in the Governor’s budget proposal for 2005-2007.
“This cascading series of harsh cuts seriously diminishes the university’s capacity to deliver what we all know Wisconsin desperately needs more baccalaureate and graduate degree holders; more high-paying jobs based on university expertise, research, and spin-offs; and the resulting higher per capita income.
“That’s why I’m troubled and puzzled by this set of reductions. I’m sure students and their families are also trying hard to understand the message the state has been sending. Do we want to increase access to higher education in Wisconsin, or limit it by shrinking enrollments? Do we want to continue to raise tuition to offset budget cuts, or hold down tuition increases? Do we want to stoke the university’s powerful research engine and strategically connect it to job creation and the discoveries of the future? And once the state decides how to address these and other issues, how do we get there?
“We should not continue to cut our academic programs and student services blindly without answers to these and other critical public policy questions. I heard Joint Finance Committee co-chairs (Dean) Kaufert and (Scott) Fitzgerald talk during the committee’s deliberations about wanting to make future reinvestments in the university, and the need for a stronger, more frequent, more collaborative dialogue and partnership with the legislature and the state to accomplish that. The Governor has made the same points.
“Under these circumstances, I am proposing that the Board of Regents and I work with the Governor and Legislature to appoint a bipartisan Commission on the Future of the UW System. This Commission should clarify what the state of Wisconsin wants from its public university, and what its citizens are willing to support. Without this clarification, I believe Wisconsin will slip into the backwaters of the 21st century knowledge economy. With this clarification and the targeted reinvestment it will drive, we can marshal the resources of the university to promote the economic security and quality of life of all our residents.
“We will continue to work with the legislature and the governor to try to make sure that the final 2005-07 UW budget is in the best interest of students and the state’s future. In the meantime, I ask the legislature and Governor Doyle to join us in supporting creation of a commission that will engage the state in a candid, meaningful discussion about the future of this great university that preceding generations of Wisconsinites struggled so hard to build. Those earlier generations, and our kids and grandkids, deserve no less.”

The Northwestern Today

As a final note before I turn back to some real work, the Northwestern reported today that this $90 million reduction approved by the JFC was an increase in funding.

Also, they published the letter to the editor by Jonathan Gutow.

They are obviously stringing out the letters--I suppose they are trying to blunt the loud, angry outcry by the faculty here. It strikes me as dishonest not to publish the letters when they are recieved or to put a date on them.

I hadn't thought about this game being played by editorial staff--they can really pretend that the resounding negative sentiment created by their lame editorials never occurred.

If you didn't know how many letters were sent, you would have no idea about the university community's response. It is once again clear that having alternative media outlets is essential for true public debate. Mine is a pathetic little blog, but keeping track of letters written and published has given me more insight into the current failures, about which others have been writing for years.

A few more links

Frank Church, the News Director at UWO, compiled a nice list of additional links, so if you want to see how the cuts are playing out across the state, take a gander. . .

Madison Mayor Cieslewicz: Joint Finance Cuts Will Harm Economic Development Efforts,, June 1,

More UW cuts would devastate the system, Column, Wausau Daily Herald, June 1,

Too-stringent UW budget cuts could hurt the economy, Editorial, La Crosse Tribune, June 1,

More deep cuts will devastate UW System, Letter to the Editor (2nd item), Appleton Post-Crescent, May 31,

UW System budget cuts go too deep, Column, Wisconsin State Journal, May 28; also in Capital Times, Dubuque Telegraph Herald, La Crosse Tribune

President of Regents fears UW quality is slipping away, Capital Times, May 28,

Why make middle-class families pay for UW chancellors' whine and cheese? Column, Capital Times, May 28,

Support for UWGB needed, Column, Green Bay News-Chronicle, May 28,

Doyle's Dream world

I know it is a bit redundant to link info off of Tony's website again, but here is another article discussing how students get screwed by our government's hacking away at higher education

Dreaming of a fair budget

Doyle's Response

I found this over at, linked from someplace else.

It makes for interesting reading, though as Tony points out, Doyle doesn't acknowledge his own cuts to the UW system.

Doyle Statement

We should really title all these posts: How to f*ck UW with a smile!

Oshblog: What is REALLY happening to UW budget?

Miles Maguire was busy this morning, putting together the best picture of what went on with the Joint Finance Committee decisions on the UW system. Take careful note of the figures that Miles provides that the new budget doesn't not cover any costs of inflation, but makes us cut to cover those rising expenses-- 90 million in cuts!!!

Oshblog: What is REALLY happening to UW budget?

As far as the budgeting process goes, it is unclear what the results of these decisions will be. Obviously, this is just one of the whole sequence of bad moments for the system. Doyle, however, has to sign off on the budget as well.

Will he stand up for any of the proposals he made? Will he be honest about the cuts he proposed to the system, covered with a veneer of new initiatives?

Locally, it is hard to tell if this will amount to a new round of cuts for UWO. In the course of the next few days, I suppose we will find out how much more we lose, thanks to the increase the media claims we are getting.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

First Reports of Additional Cuts

The Bullets from the story in the Journal-Sentinal:

# Reduce overall system funding by $25 million over two years, in addition to the $65 million cut Doyle included in his budget; $1.5 million of the reduction would come from UW System administration.

# Reject Doyle's request for an additional $11 million to create 120 new faculty positions.

# Accept Doyle's appeal for $2.5 million a year to bolster salaries of faculty members who are in high demand by other universities.

# Provide $2.5 million for Alzheimer's disease research.

# Eliminate a proposal to allow undocumented aliens to receive resident tuition rates.

JS Online: DayWatch