Democrats cite ‘deep concern’ in letter to Cross about UW System merger

Cross proposes consolidating UW colleges
Democrats cite ‘deep concern’ in letter to Cross about UW System merger

A group of 20 Democratic lawmakers is asking UW System President Ray Cross to consider more input to a plan that would merge UW colleges with other four-year universities in the state.

The letter sent Thursday cites “deep concern” over the proposal and says there was a “complete lack of collaboration and deliberation in such a far-reaching proposal.”

Cross has proposed that the colleges stay open, but administratively merge with four-year institutions in the state. The UW Cooperative Extension program would also be merged into UW-Madison.

The UW Board of Regents will consider the proposal in November, and the 20 lawmakers are asking Cross to include additional stakeholders in discussions prior to that meeting.

“Without sufficient study and the consultation and inclusion of concerns from these stakeholders, we fear this proposal will not succeed,” the letter states.

Cross proposed the merger earlier this month, saying it was a way to address declining enrollment and budget issues.

System spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said Thursday Cross hadn’t gotten the letter but stressed the plan is meant to maintain a UW presence across Wisconsin.

She added that students, faculty and staff all would be included in implementation if regents approve the merger.