At second faculty forum, chancellor details legislative work

In the second faculty forum in less than a week addressing proposed legislative changes to tenure and shared governance, Chancellor Rebecca Blank on Monday reiterated that the principles are “absolutely integral” to the university.

“Academic freedom is important to a strong university,” Blank said. “I will not accept a tenure policy that is inconsistent with our peer universities or that violates existing standards.”

In the last week, Blank said she and her legislative liaisons have been in touch with numerous members of the legislature, including Senate and Assembly leaders and all members of the Joint Finance Committee, to urge them to adopt alternative language to the bill. Should those efforts fail, she said, a veto request is being prepared to be sent to Gov. Scott Walker.

In addition to those direct legislative efforts, an update on the situation has been included in communications sent to alumni, Blank spoke to 600 supporters at an alumni event in Milwaukee last week, and she has conducted several media interviews.

Blank said the Joint Finance Committee is expected to wrap up its work on the budget bill later this week and the state Senate and Assembly could vote on the bill as early as next week. It would then go to Gov. Walker for his signature.

Archived video of the forum will be available later this week at (UPDATE: Video can be viewed here.)

A forum for assistant professors is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, in Ebling Auditorium (Room 1220) in Microbial Sciences, 1550 Linden Drive.