Category Archives: Actions & Statements

Academic Petition in Support of Immigrants & International Collaboration

In response to the Executive Order released last week that directs, among many problematic measures, a 90-day suspension of immigration of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen; a stay on the order was issued by Judge Connelly in New York. A victory for the local ACLU. Here is the text of that document.

The stay is a short term victory. The Executive Order includes many other threats, much questionable language, and academics across the country have responded to these threats with a petition. Here is the press release for that petition. Please read the press release for the complete stance on the petition.

More than 6,000 academics signed in the first 24 hours after the order was issued. More than 42,000 have signed total. At least 30,000 are US Faculty Members. Other signatories include post-doctoral scholars, doctoral candidates, masters students and non-US scholars. Here is the home page for the petition.

Wide circulation is highly encouraged. To sign, send an email, preferably from a .edu address, to: NoToImmigrationEO@gmail.com.

The *subject line* of the email should include your: name, award/distinction, title, affiliation.

Image: “IIE delegation in Tehran, Iran” – with credit to IHE, 8/18/2015

Prevent Concealed Carry on Campus:

The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) is the democratically elected body of student government on our campus. They represent the student’s interests above all else.

In response to recent discussions, there is evidence to suggest that “Concealed Carry Legislation” is proposed for passage by the capital in January.

Concealed Carry Legislation would allow concealed carry of weapons on UW-Madison campus. ASM interprets this as a threat to student safety. The voice of the students has spoken.

WUU E-Board would like to invite you to join the opposition to this legislation. Here is a link to a petition you may sign: Support our students, oppose concealed carry on campus!

Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto has written a 10 point Anti-Authoritarian Code of Conduct that professors have begun to post around UW-Madison’s campus. Please share widely!

Here’s the 10-point code:

  • I will not aid in the registering, rounding up or internment of students and colleagues on the basis of their religious beliefs.
  • I will not aid in the marginalization, exclusion or deportation of my undocumented students and colleagues.
  • I will, as my capacities allow, discourage and defend against the bullying and harassment of vulnerable students and colleagues targeted for important aspects of their identity (such as race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.).
  • I will not aid government or law enforcement in activities which violate the U.S. Constitution or other U.S. law.
  • I will not aid in government surveillance. I will not inform.
  • As a teacher and researcher, I will not be bought or intimidated. I will present the state of research in my field accurately, whether or not it is what the government wants to hear. I will challenge others when they lie.
  • I will not be shy about my commitment to academic values: truth, objectivity, free inquiry and rational debate. I will challenge others when they engage in behavior contrary to these values.
  • As an administrator, I will defend my students, faculty and nonacademic staff. I will not allow the expulsion, firing, disciplining, harassment or marginalization of individuals targeted for being members of disfavored groups or for expressing dangerous opinions. I will speak up for academic freedom. I will insist on the autonomy of my institution.
  • I will stand with my colleagues at other institutions, and defend their rights and freedoms.
  • I will be fair and unbiased in the classroom, in grading and in all my dealings with all my students, including those who disagree with me politically.

Fighting Racism at UW:

This brief is summary information that follows the reports of two football fans at the UW-Madison stadium who displayed masks depicting, now president elect, Donald Trump holding a noose around the necks of President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the UW-Madison football stadium on October 29.

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Student athlete, Mr. Nigel Hayes (pictured above from: host.madison.com), authored this letter in response to the events, which was shared quickly among students, according to the Badger Herald.

While Chancellor Rebecca Blank issued her own statement, alumni mounted a series of letters that critiqued what they considered a flat response. Students, alumni and community members have called for more action to fight against racial injustice on campus and in the Madison community at large.

WUU Supports Academic Freedom

It has come to the attention of the WUU Executive Board that Senator Nass has recently sent a message to President Cross and the Board of Regents in an effort to restrict academic freedom at UW-Madison. You may read more about the story here.

In response, the WUU Executive board has sent the attached letter to President Cross and the Board of Regents. We have attached that letter for your information.

LetterCross.BOR.ObsceneMaterial&Censorship-page-001

An Open Letter to the Faculty Senate about Resolution of No Confidence in President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents

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UW Faculty Member,

You may be wondering whether you should support the proposed Faculty Senate resolution on No Confidence in the UW Board of Regents and President Ray Cross. A copy is attached. FacultySenateResolution_20160502Mtg Below is a message from David Vanness citing examples from the last Board of Regent’s meeting to clarify why we should have no confidence in the Regents or the President to stand up for the welfare of the University, the students, the faculty and staff or the population of the State of Wisconsin as a whole. The Regents have facilitated the intrusion of Big Government into the management of the University.

There are no-confidence resolutions under consideration on at least seven other UW campuses. We, the faculty, have lost governance power but, according to the new governance policy, we have the responsibility to advise on matters affecting the mission of the University. This resolution is part of our responsibility: alerting the population of the cavalier attitude of the Regents towards their job of protecting the educational quality of the University. As the President’s office said, this is a matter for the Faculty.

For the Wisconsin University Union

Bruce Thomadsen

President

http://www.wuu.info/

 

From: David Vanness <david.j.vanness@live.com>

Dear Colleagues,

 

I am writing to you in my role as a fellow member of the UW-Madison faculty and not in my role as President of the local AAUP chapter. Our chapter is engaged in an ongoing, vigorous and respectful debate about the merits and risks of voting “No Confidence” in UW-System leadership. Eloquent and well-reasoned arguments have been made both for and against. However, two clear themes have emerged from our discussion, and I would like to share them with you.

 

First, not a single member expressed that they are confident in President Cross or the majority of the Board of Regents’ ability (or desire) to protect UW System from continued budget cuts, program closures and faculty layoffs for reasons unrelated to educational quality. In fact, nearly all of us agree that they are at best complicit with our current state government’s desire to redefine the Wisconsin Idea as primarily a workforce training mission, and at worst actively engaged.

 

I would encourage all of you to watch and listen to President Cross and the majority of Regents arguing strongly against faculty-endorsed amendments to UW System’s new layoff policy that would have included protective language similar to our strongest peers, such as the University of Michigan. Faculty amendments are introduced at 16:52. The relevant debate over faculty amendments begins at 1:03:48 and lasts for about an hour. I recommend listening to the debate in its entirety because it gives the opportunity to contrast the language of the five Regents who supported the faculty amendments (Evers, Bradley, Vasquez, Pruitt and Manydeeds) from the eleven who opposed them. If you are pressed for time, I would call your attention to the following timepoints:

 

1:04:33 Regent Vice-President Behling and System General Counsel Tomas Stafford on why requiring alternatives to layoff to be “pursued” (instead of merely “considered”) would deny chancellors the “flexibility” needed to deal with budget cuts.

 

1:21:58 Regent Vice-President Behling on how an amendment requiring program closures to focus primarily on educational considerations (language in University of Michigan’s layoff policy) would prevent chancellors from having the “flexibility, flexibility, flexibility” they need to “get through tough economic times.”

 

1:26:30 System President Ray Cross arguing that campuses will have flexibility in determining their own policy and that he hopes UW-Madison’s proposed policy (passed by the Senate in November) would pass. Of course, the Board of Regents went on to make significant amendments at its meeting last month, overruling the expressed sentiments of the Faculty Senate.

 

1:29:22 Regent Margaret Farrow comparing our activities to making “widgets” and at 1:30:44 proclaiming “Welcome to the 21stCentury!”

 

1:44:23 Regent President Regina Millner arguing that chancellors need flexibility to make certain “critical decisions” because faculty do not always understand the needs of the institution to have financial stability. Remember – this is a policy about program closure and layoff.

 

1:53:31 System President Ray Cross again emphasizing the broad nature of the policy to allow campuses the ability to draft their own policy. Also arguing that “financial issues” are inseparable from educational considerations.

 

This brings me to the second broad theme that has emerged. Despite near-unanimous inability to express confidence in our leadership, many of us are afraid that expressing that lack of confidence could bring harm to the university. State legislators have already publicly threatened us with further cuts and reforms after simply announcing the upcoming vote.

 

Taken together, these themes lead me to ask a very important question. If nearly all of us conclude that our leadership is failing, but we allow fear of reprisal to suppress our expression of that finding, then haven’t we already lost our academic freedom? If fear of the Board of Regents, the Legislature and the Governor stops us from exercising our responsibility in governance, then I am afraid we really have lost. What’s next? Will we allow fear to change what we teach or research or say in public?

 

I believe that the cumulative effects of austerity are really beginning to be felt deeply across the UW System. News articles are emerging from around the state that students aren’t able to get classes to graduate on time, that the classes they can get into are bigger and less personalized, that advising and other student services have been cut to the bone. President Cross, the Board of Regents and the State Legislature have made clear (no whining!) that they do not want that message out in the public. They do not want the citizens of the state to realize that the quality of our students’ education and our ability to attract and retain the highest caliber scholars and scientists has suffered under their policies.

 

I would simply ask you to engage in the debate on Monday and vote your conscience. Whether or not you are confident in President Cross and the Board of Regents, in the true spirit of sifting and winnowing, we need to hear your voice and have your honest vote. If at the conclusion of the debate, you find yourself lacking confidence in our leadership, I would ask only one thing: be fearless. That’s the way by which alone the truth can be found.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dave Vanness

Associate Professor