Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some Notes On U-Wisconsin


On Nov. 20, 2012 you published a front page story with the headline "Big Ten plus two" as to expansion of that football league. The UW connected headlines I would rather see would be: "UW Freezes Tuition Fees"; Or, "UW Cuts Non-Teaching Employees By 30%"; Or, "UW Does Cost-Benefit Analysis Of Sports Programs"; Or, "UW Eliminates Remedial Education & Affirmative Action".  

Of course, all of such wishful thinking stories would be basic to the reformation of UW towards what should be its basic and overriding goal--The provision of a quality education at a reasonable cost to Wisconsin's youths.
The University of Wisconsin's most recent and most unreasonable tuition increase is a duplicate of the Democrat Party's policies which drove our State's general budget towards bankruptcy and our overall economy down.

This is due to the UW Regents and administrators refusal to make the same level of budget cuts and Governor Walker used to bring his Administration "out of the depths" and into a new day. The very token "cuts" touted by UW's President are not reflected in the "bottom line" of its budget---Yielding an insulting increase in tuition. Below are only a few real cuts as must be made to make UW follow the government principles presented by our Governor and as so recently confirmed by the People.
1. As students should be qualified for university-level academic work before admission, UW must abolish all "remedial" education programs, their staffs and costs.
2. As UW has not been found guilty, by our laws-and-courts, of any pattern of racial or other illicit discrimination, the like abolishing of all "affirmative action" (ie Reverse discrimination) programs, their staffs and use of questionably legal substitutes for "quotas".
3. All fees from copyrights and patents  payable to UM must go directly to either that school's general fund (And NOT to some out-of-control spin-off entity) or to the General Fund of the State for allocation to the universities and more-reality-centered technical colleges.
4. With the  exception of professors, building-and-grounds maintenance, police and library services fully eliminate all current jobs with "Assistant", "Associate" "Special" and "Deputy" (Such staff are not immune to those lay-offs which have so attacked so many of our fellow citizens!)
5. Freeze all pay increases for all staff until tuition increases are, over the prior five years, no greater than inflation AND our State's true unemployment rate is less than 6%.

If the Legislature does not have the collective courage to force such changes then they should, at the least, turn UW back over to the People by having the Regents elected
(eg Two from each Congressional District to establish a truly democratic basis for that Board).

Wisconsin's unemployment rate is still much too high. Student debt is at a all time high..  Many UW graduates are asking "Do you want fries with that sir?" OR leave for other States where their UW education pays taxes in those places.. There is even a (Sort of?) freeze on raises in faculty pay within the University of Wisconsin system. UW still maintains costly remedial course work for those students not prepared for university level work.  UW still maintains a costly, top heavy, load of various administrators who do not teach or "do research" or provide, by themselves, direct library, maintenance and like services.

Yet, the UW Regents have authorized the increase of the salary for the UW-Milwaukee provost to $317,362/year!

I still maintain that the best means of correcting the waste, inefficiencies and corruption within UW is to have the Regents democratically (eg Two from each Congressional District) and directly elected by the People. I note that my elected State officials have not responded to that recommendation. [Perhaps, you should ask Governor Walker and the appropriate chairs in the Legislature about that issue/recommendation.]

However and failing that, I suggest that the Regents have fallen so far from reality that they need "professional help". I suggest the Psychiatry Department of UW's own medical school.  That would only be just as that school rejects superior students for less qualified, "affirmative action", applicants.  [Why, they might find their own and very personal Dr. Nidal Hasan.]

There is the question: Are the "Provost"  positions really necessary for the proper administration of UW? The job descriptions available for Department Heads and Deans seem to "cover the ground" as to administrative duties. If some of those persons cannot be trusted to "do the job", they should be replaced. Internal conflicts should be referred to the President or Regents for resolution, giving another reason to eliminate the Provost position.

If, and only if, the Provost positions are to be retained, I suggest that UW actively recruit such from the Commissioned Officer staffs of our excellent military service academies, the various (Graduate level) Staff colleges maintained by the Armed Forces and the academies of the USCG and Merchant Marine. Those persons have demonstrated a commitment to excellence, service and loyalty which seems too rare in the academic world.
I have received a letter, from UW-Madison's "Interim Chancellor" David Ward,
noting that UW's Medical School does apply "affirmative action" as to its students.

If your (Or any other person's) physician is UW Medical School graduate AND a "person of color" or female or otherwise eligible for "affirmative action", you (And they) might wish to inquired more closely as to that person's qualifications at the time of entry into medical school and, for example,  "class standing" at the time of graduation. (IIf any such physician refuses to provide relevant information, that person's services should be rejected and s/he reported to the State "Medical Board" & their employer).

Those UW-Madison students who obtain their medical services through on-campus clinics should specially note the above.

The admission of anyone other than the best, academically qualified students to that Medical School can be considered on a scale ranging from foolishness to criminality.

 It is also another reason why the People should directly elect (eg Two from each Congressional District)  UW's Regents. Please advise me if you support this proposal and will (When?) submit enabling legislation. (At the very least, Regents should be appointed on a democratic basis with equal representation to all parts of the State.)

From information received, it appears that the Law School of the University of Wisconsin is still inflicting a "stuck in the 1960s" style of that very anti-equal-rights and anti-accomplishment called "Affirmative Action".

I expect (Hope?) that those persons entering UW's Medical School or PhD programs in such real graduate programs as Mathematics,  Chemistry (For Which UW is justly world famous) and Physics are not selected on the basis of anything other that "best candidates available" without regard to race, gender, etc..

I suggest it is well past the time when UW's Regents should stop such practices. As far as I know UW has not been judicially found culpable (At least in recent memory) of any pattern of racial discrimination. Therefore, such programs should be halted AND, in fact, all "Affirmative Action Officers" employment with UW terminated to a great savings for a stressed-out university budget.
                                                                            July 26, 2011
Dear Governor Walker:

During this time of so much heat (And very little light) as to the Federal Budget AND Wisconsin's redistricting, recall-elections, CCW controversies, local (If not State) "budget crunches", it may be difficult to focus on the cost of higher education to the youth of our State.

Yet, it is the time for you to use the courage you have and the budget-reform-skills you have demonstrated and take such measures as will bring the University of Wisconsin back under the control of the People (Through their elected representatives OR by direct election of the Regents) and insure that the tuition-and-fees charged by that dis-organization is NOT increased beyond the same inflation rate as used, for example, for increases in Social Security payments.

As it appears that the Legislature has a very firm track-record of NOT demonstrating the needed courage to do-the-job, direct election of Regents (ie Two from each Congressional district to satisfy constitutional and fairness standards; Without any Regent having any employment or other interest in UW).

Some financial controls could be had by requiring that not less than 50% of all copyright and patent fees paid to UW employees go directly to the General Fund for allocation, by the People's representatives, for Wisconsin's higher education programs. (If research now supported by such funds is worth-the-while, private investors will support such. Otherwise, those moneys, belonging to the People, will go to the various hobby-horses of academic elitists.)
                                                                        June 10, 2010


Thank you for pointing out the (At the least) inappropriate behavior of UW's President and Administration in making a very political appointment, without the usual search for a "best candidate", of Mr. Michael Morgan to a $245,000.00/year job. I am pleased to see that you are going beyond the prior limit of such stories as pointed out the questionable financial arrangements of some UW physicians to the heart-and-core of  maladministration within UW---The President's office. (It might be interesting to determine if some of  the politically appointed Regents had any involvement in this matter!)

In this and many other matters, UW's Administration (And the Regents) have morphed well away from the People AND the most common standards of honesty and decency expected by our fellow citizens.

Again, I urge the Legislature (During the 2011 term) to enact such laws as would require the direct election (eg Two from each Congressional District to insure a State-wide representation) of the Regents by direct vote of the People. As a supporter of democracy and openness in government, your editors should consider seconding this proposal in their editorials.
It appears the UW-Milwaukee Professor Amanda Seligman (Letter published 25 November 2009) is out-of-contact with economic realities as to the cost of public, university, education to poor and lower middle class students and their families. If she thinks that the debt load of such UW students is low she, as a professor, should reexamine the data and redefine what she means by "low" rather than define her statement in terms of that too common thinking error "glittering generalities".

As she will, no doubt, rush to examine basic data, I suggest that she compare the following factors: The cost of a (Full time) UW education over each of the last twenty years; The mean and median rise in (Full time) faculty salaries and fringe benefits over those same years; The increases in Wisconsin's cost-of-living and tax-loads over those years; And, the mean and median of personal income in our State over each of those years.

I suggest that she (And too many others) are out of contact as to who receives the most value from UW. It appears to many that the tenured faculty and senior administrators of that non-system have been using UW as a "milk cow" (Or, to be more modern, ATM) for too many years through both their lawful payments, gray-area payments and just plain thefts and corruption.

I again suggest that the Regents be required, by a "soonest" law, to be equally distributed over the State (eg Two per congressional district) and, in the near future, directly elected by the People. This might bring the UW-ATM over-users back into contact with reality.

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