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AFT-Wisconsin Responds to UW System President Ray Cross's Proposal to Consolidate the UW System

For Immediate Release:

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Today UW System President Ray Cross is proposing a plan to shrink the UW System, consolidating and eliminating programs and positions across campuses.

“This plan responds to a human-made disaster, not a pandemic,” said AFT-Wisconsin Vice President for Higher Education Jon Shelton, a professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at UW-Green Bay. “Years of legislative attacks in the form of budget cuts, an unfunded tuition freeze, and depleted campus reserves have now provided Cross with an excuse to undermine the Wisconsin Idea, keeping the UW from providing its full potential to the citizens of this state.”

“Just as in the decision to merge System campuses in 2017, Ray Cross has once again tried to keep faculty and staff out of the room when proposing major changes,” said Kim Kohlhaas, President of AFT-Wisconsin. “One way or the other, though, our faculty, academic staff, and graduate student members throughout the state are going to make their voices heard.”

“This plan centralizes authority in Madison to mandate where students in other parts of Wisconsin will have to go to access programs they need,” Shelton said. “The plan would be particularly tough on first-generation students and those with limited means. Our members are going to fight like hell to protect the Wisconsin Idea, and to make sure all students have access to the academic programs they need and want, and not just the elite.”



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