Monday, June 15, 2015

Resolution on Proposed Actions by Wisconsin State Legislature to Weaken Academic Freedom and Shared Governance in the University of Wisconsin System

AAUP National
June 13th, 2015

By this resolution, the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association of University Professors adds its grave concerns to those currently being voiced throughout the world of higher learning regarding the proposals for action by the Wisconsin legislature later this month. The University of Wisconsin’s special reputation for independence in seeking the truth dates back to 1894, when its governing board, resisting pressures to dismiss a famous dissenting professor, expressed its belief that the university “should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which the truth can be found.”
The current proposals threaten to discourage what the nineteenth-century board so eloquently encouraged. They require the legislature to “delete current law specifying that the faculty of each institution be vested with responsibility for the immediate governance of such institution.” They allow the governing board to terminate tenured faculty appointments in the event of “a program or budget decision regarding program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection, instead of when a financial exigency exists as under current law.” Provision after provision is at odds with the AAUP’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure and its Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities.

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