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AFT-Wisconsin Responds to Jim Johnsen’s Withdrawal of His Candidacy for UW System President


For Immediate Release:

Friday, June 12, 2020

Today Jim Johnsen withdrew his name as a candidate to be the next UW System President.

“We’re glad to see that Jim Johnsen has heeded the voices of union members around the state who have pushed back against this process, and this candidate. From the start, this search was fatally flawed by an unprecedented decision to exclude faculty, staff, and students from the committee,” said AFT-Wisconsin Vice President for Higher Education Jon Shelton, a professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at UW-Green Bay. “As many problems as we had with Johnsen as a candidate, he got this much right: we have ‘important process issues to work out.’ We look forward to a new search, with a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students involved in all parts of the process. We need a candidate committed to the Wisconsin Idea, someone dedicated to creating a university that serves all the students of the state, no matter their race, income, or other social status—not just an elite few.”

“This victory is a testament to the power of having a collective voice through our unions,” said Kim Kohlhaas, President of AFT-Wisconsin. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no matter how often Ray Cross or other System administrators try to freeze out workers’ voices, our faculty, academic staff, and graduate student members are going to make their voices heard.”

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