Wisconsin Higher Ed Changes Are Now Law

July 13, 2015

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, has signed into law a budget bill that removes provisions on tenure and shared governance from state law -- moves opposed by faculty leaders and administrators. Governor Walker and Republican allies have said that governing boards can replicate important features as system policy that need not be in state law. But this has not reassured many in higher education. Rebecca M. Blank, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is among those who wrote to Governor Walker to try to get him to veto such provisions. The law has made Governor Walker, who is about to officially kick off his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, unpopular with academic leaders nationwide, and many groups have come out against the changes. But there have been no signs that the push has hurt the governor with his political base, or that Walker backers are hearing the pledges to move tenure protections to a system policy. Grover Norquist, the anti-tax advocate who is influential in conservative circles nationally, on Sunday wrote on Twitter: "Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, passed new budget that ends tenure for public universities. Saves $250 million."

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