Public higher education in the United States is under widespread attack through shrinking public investment and attacks on democratic governance. We at WUU believe it urgent that faculty and academic staff who share our values make themselves heard, both in protest and in practical engagement with these realities.
UW-Madison is known as a national beacon of free speech and unimpeded scholarly pursuit, as an institution offering the highest quality academic instruction at the lowest possible cost, as the home of the “Wisconsin Idea” of lively democratic experiment in public policy, as a university where public service is central to its mission. Yet, there is much work to be done to keep it that way.
Today the ratio of students to full time faculty at UW-Madison is at an all time high. So too is the share of teaching borne by “associates” with no chance of job tenure, the percentage of staff maintained as “limited term employees,” the amount of time it takes students to get through to a degree, and the cost of tuition and fees to students and their families. Near an all time low are faculty and staff powers in University governance. There is now a concerted attempt to significantly alter the structure of the University and the UW System without meaningful communication, let alone agreement, from participants in governance. These trends concern us greatly.
For those who share these values and concerns, WUU is a source of information and fellowship, a voice for democratic engagement, representation in the event of employment disputes and a tool for practical reform. With the impact of Act 10 on collective bargaining for faculty and staff it is now even more urgent to secure and expand our rights.
We urge you to join WUU. Our dues are kept low, so not to be a bar to membership. They are currently $5 a month, but we are not asking for dues until after our spring 2015 executive board elections. After submitting this membership form, you will begin receiving emails from WUU. We will keep you updated on current actions around the UW Budget cuts and other critical campus issues.
So please join us, and let’s be about the work of better realizing our democratic values in this great institution.