Thursday, February 17, 2011

The UW-Madison/UW System Squabble

Biddy Martin, the UW-Madison Chancellor, is not flying with the flock on this one.

...a memo obtained by the Journal Sentinel revealed quiet backing by the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to split off the flagship university from the state system - a move that would reverse the merger of the UW System schools that happened nearly 40 years ago.

The memo by UW Chancellor Biddy Martin was at odds with the views of UW System leaders and her own public pronouncements calling for more freedom from state rules on purchasing, pay and other areas, but within the existing UW System.

That puts her in opposition to UW-System leadership, which wants to retain the current structure.

...Martin and leaders at all UW System campuses have been seeking more freedom from state hiring regulations and rules that apply to other state workers because they say the rules make it hard for them to compete with universities in other states.

Another example: Campuses want to be able to quickly start certain new programs without the bureaucracy of getting legislative approval. Some of these programs would be money makers for campuses.

I have been aware of the UW's thoughts on this matter for several weeks. The Legislature's heavy-handed regulation of UW activities has hampered a number of efforts by UW (and its subsidiaries) to increase the UW's income. Correspondingly, the UW's purchasing operations have also been tied up with UW-System (and/or Legislative) fiddle-faddle.

At the same time, I have no delusions about UW-Madison's ultra-left orientation, nor its willingness to engage in blatantly anti-life activities, including abortion and embryonic stem-cell research.

But then, the Legislature can always bar certain activities while allowing others, right?


Kevin said...

Actually, I think UW-Madison leadership's stance is about simple branding. For decades, the students, faculty, and alumni of UW-Madison have thought putting Madison in the UW System 'dilutes the brand.'

They want "UW" to stand for Madison; not the "UW System."

Dad29 said...

OK. That's a feature, too.