By Bruce Thomadsen and the Wisconsin University Union Board.
Of all the ways the Wisconsin State Legislature is working to demolish the University, such as starting to send it into a financial free-fall and deletion of meaningful tenure, the elimination of due process and just cause for firing faculty flies in the face of our national culture’s love of justice and individual rights. For that matter, most cultures in the free world would consider this a major step toward tyrannical totalitarianism.
The University of Wisconsin Regents had the opportunity to stand for justice, protect the employees and students who are victimized by this action and slow the gutting of what is still, but not destined to remain, a major, world-class University. As a body, the Regents chose not to oppose this travesty. By delegation to a committee looking into the issue, they yielded to the abuser (the Legislature). It is unlikely that the committee can report back to the Regents in time to send a message to the Legislature before the budgetary process is complete. The Regents have to know that. They also have to have been thinking about this, assuming that they take their charge seriously. They have thought about it enough in the past to make bold statements that they will maintain the rights currently (perhaps for only a few more days) in State statute. Apparently empty bold statements.
The Wisconsin State Legislature has apparently silenced the UW-Madison Chancellor, probably with the threat that things could get much worse for her hostage children if she does not play nice. If the Regents are under the same pressure, the University has lost its champion and last protector. Civilization has taken a hit. The Empire has total control.
Quality? What potential faculty hire would want to come to a university that could fire without cause and without due process? Few faculty members of quality would stay at such a university except for personal reasons. Stay for the high quality ice cream? These changes will bring the biggest sucking sound since Ross Perot warned of the effects of NAFTA. Why would the top students want to come to study with the remnant of the faculty?
Kudos to Regents Evers, Vásquez, and Bradley who stood against the changes. They stared the dragon in the eye and did not flinch.