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January 2018: Executive Board Minutes

I: Meeting with AAUP – we plan to suggest a meeting at the Memorial Union; Thursdays 5 pm or later would be ideal.

II: A reminder that Lydia will be in Madrid as of the 27th of January

III: Question of the future of the organization/Possibility to transform the organization.

  1. Work to enlarge the individual case load; person to person contacts. This builds awareness and traction for the organization. How do we approach people?
  2. Take the current board and provide financial assistance for those who want or need it. Who needs it and how is it provided? In this case, we need to ensure that WUU is following procedures as properly outlined under the 501c status granted by the IRS.
  3. There is a tension in the difficulty to motivate vs the rationality that it might not be in the best interest of faculty and staff to organize on every single issue. The question becomes: which issues to target and why?
  4. Recall the successful case of the Land Tenure Center and the work of Jim Donnelly when we consider moving forward on cases. This case was successful, the push for shared governance was successful, and WUU was able to stall the removal of the center. Hence, when the UW system is facing reorganization; WUU ought to, at the very least, push for an increased in shared governance, with the goal in mind that it may well produce a different result than if shared governance was not considered. Of course, the result may be the same, but, decisions could then, at the very least, have been properly discussed.

IV: Retreat Discussion.

Considering the future of the organization should be a two-part process. The first part should be an open discussion of the possibilities that are under consideration. The second part should be a discussion and outline the procedures and process for enacting the plan. Throughout these considerations, we will have to keep in mind whether the bylaws need amending.

We currently plan to engage in the first part of the discussion on Saturday the 13th of January, blocking out the hours of 1 to 5 pm in the afternoon. We will get a room in the Memorial Union or Union South; which re-open on the 7th of January.

V: Cases discussion.





STEM, Social Science & Humanities Professional Organizations Oppose Tax Bill

When the announcement came that the House of Representatives version of the Republican Party’s tax bill would take aim at Graduate Student Tuition Waivers and Tax exceptions for student loan interest, professional organizations across the academy responded. On November 15th, 44 organizations from scientific communities, including Social Science and STEM organizations, wrote a letter to the United States Congress (see below).

When the vote passed the House, and a new Senate version of the bill was proposed, these two provisions impacting graduate students were removed. Still, according to Inside Higher Ed, the Senate version of the Republican Party tax bill would continue to have a negative impact on higher education, particularly research institutions with large endowments. In anticipation of the Senate vote, and to ward off provisions of the House bill that might be added by amendment, 41 organizations affiliation with the Social Sciences and the Humanities on November 28.

On the 29th, graduate assistants across the country, at more than 60 locations walked out, as part of a coordinate effort to oppose the provisions of the Republican Party tax bills.

As debate continued, a proposal in the Washington Post argued for removal of charges of graduate tuition altogether in response to the Republican Party House of Representatives version of the tax bill. While reviews on the proposal are mixed, at least some view the response, putting the pressure on institutions themselves, as victim blaming.

Regardless of positions and proposals in response, faculty, staff and students seem united around one clear issue: the House of Representatives version of the tax bill is worse than the Senate version, but the Senate version still has damaging provisions. For example, even the Senate version risks an increase of $1.4 trillion dollars in the deficit according to Congressional Budgetary Office analysis. The difference would then likely be mounted as an argument to cut benefits programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As the tax bill moves to joint congressional committee, the question will be “How bad is bad? And why?”

Opposition to provisions in the legislation can still make themselves heard in committee, before the house vote, before the final vote, and before the stage where, theoretically, the president could sign the bill into law, or veto it. The legislation still has a long way to go, and opposition to it has been mounting.


Beer on Us! October 26th


Want to have a beer on the Wisconsin University Union (WUU)?

We’ll spring for snacks and non-alcoholic drinks too.

There won’t be ANY speechifying and the purpose isn’t to sign people up for WUU (though discussions of union issues may well come up).

We just want to spark discussion of some current issue(s) each month, like these:

–increase in administrative jobs vs. decrease in faculty positions
–governance at UW today
–salaries from student workers through faculty to administrators
–access and affordability


This month we will focus on coordinating WUU & TAA efforts.


We will meet on Thursday, October 26th at 5:00 at Memorial Union — on the Terrace if the weather is suitable, otherwise in the Rathskeller.