Opposing a vote of ‘no confidence’

As chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I acknowledge the anger and frustration from our faculty and staff in reaction to budget cuts, changes to governance and tenure.

However, I feel that it is important to share my view on a planned resolution of “no confidence” in the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and President Ray Cross.

I do not see any positive outcome from such an expression and believe there is a risk of substantial negative effects.

Such a vote would put the UW-Madison faculty in opposition to our governing board, with which we work closely and must have a positive relationship. UW-Madison makes requests of the Regents monthly, needing their approval of a host of activities. In the near future, we will be asking the Regents to approve a post-tenure policy document.

Likewise, many staff and faculty at UW-Madison work daily with the staff under the authority and leadership of President Cross. I can personally attest that he has consistently advanced the best interest of our campus, both publicly and behind the scenes. He does not deserve this resolution.

As I have stated elsewhere, the policy unanimously adopted last month by the Board of Regents provides tenure policies we can live with.

I very much hope that the UW Faculty Senate will not give its endorsement to this counterproductive resolution. I believe it will only reduce support for us at a time we need to communicate our value to the citizens of Wisconsin as strongly as possible.