Dear University community,
Before the weekend arrives, I want to thank everyone who was able to join our town halls and Access Campus office hours sessions this week and last.
Provost Martini and I estimate we presented Institutional Realignment Plan (IRP) workforce reduction data and transition plan details to 500 to 600 people over three days, including those of you at our Oshkosh-campus based employee town halls, a fairly full theatre for a Wednesday evening student forum and a Thursday morning Retirees Association meeting.
While we were able to provide an overview of transition plans ahead, we all will need to help shape details in months to come. A few thoughts on the initial questions, feedback and suggestions we collected this week:
- We will develop an FAQ for our IRP website that better captures and addresses common questions, concerns and misconceptions we heard this week. Meanwhile, you can find the slide deck Provost Martini and I used Wednesday and Thursday HERE.
- We will schedule additional, Q&A-only styled town halls before the end of the semester. I appreciate this suggestion in Thursday’s town hall. Our inability to address every topic broached in the forum Zoom chats warrants more opportunity for questions and conversation. Stay tuned for dates, times and locations.
- We continue to meet with Shared Governance leadership, as a group, every week. I also continue to meet with Shared Governance leaders individually — by employee and student groups — each month.
- I also must salute Oshkosh Student Government for coordinating its Wednesday evening town hall to include administration and Shared Governance leaders side-by-side. It was a wonderful format that helped us listen to audience concerns and hopes and express our shared commitment to support students through UWO’s workforce transitions.
The latest from President Rothman
Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman continues to advocate for our pay plan and, in a communication to employees statewide earlier this week, relays updates you likely caught in the news. I will leave you today with President Rothman’s message and share another thank you for your continued efforts to stay informed and engaged as we move forward.
Chancellor Andy Leavitt
As you may have heard this morning, Gov. Evers and the Department of Justice have filed a lawsuit against the legislature challenging the legality of withholding the pay plan from Universities of Wisconsin employees.
Even with the announced lawsuit, we will continue to advocate to the legislature in our ongoing effort to release the pay plan adjustments for our tens of thousands of UW faculty and staff. We are hopeful that our legislators do what is right, not only for our employees and their families, but for the students, parents, and communities we serve.
As I have said from the beginning, it was unprecedented to withhold pay from our employees as part of a political disagreement between two separate branches of government. Targeting Universities of Wisconsin employees and their families to compel our universities to eliminate all diversity and inclusion positions, which action was vetoed by the Governor, left us in an incredible predicament. I am deeply troubled by our employees being stuck in the middle of this dispute. This is not the Wisconsin that I know.
I appreciate the feedback I have received from the hundreds of UW faculty and staff I have visited with over the past month as we have engaged in advocacy efforts throughout the state. While the legislative inaction has been beyond disappointing, I have been heartened by the supportive comments our universities have received from business and community leaders, as well as members of both political parties. What you do, every day, is critical to the vibrancy and success of all Wisconsinites and is inspirational to me personally as we advocate on your behalf.
Thank you for your patience during these challenging times, and thank you for your commitment to the Universities of Wisconsin.