UW System president orders immediate cost-saving efforts

UW System president orders immediate cost-saving efforts
Raymond Cross

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross has ordered system employees to immediately implement cost-saving moves after Gov. Scott Walker announced he wants to slash the system’s funding over the next two years.

“A lot of people are going to consider leaving. They feel like they have put their heart and soul in this, and there are some who feel they are not appreciated,” said Dr. David Munro, UW-Whitewater’s Faculty Senate chair.

Munro worries the fear of the impact Walker’s proposed budgets cuts will have on the UW System will drive away valued members of the university.

“I’ve heard from someone that already this week, he has had four faculty members ask for him to write them a letter of recommendation,” Munro said.

Walker is grappling with a $2 billion deficit in the next state budget. He said this week the spending plan he’ll hand to the Legislature next week will cut $300 million from the system but give it more independence from the state.

Cross sent a memo to all system employees on Wednesday ordering immediate moratoriums on hiring non-essential state-funded positions, out-of-state travel, raises and promotions. He said any exceptions would have to go through him or David Miller, the system’s vice president of administration and fiscal affairs.

Cross told Wisconsin Public Radio on Thursday he doesn’t see how the campuses can absorb the cuts without layoffs. Cross also said he’s frustrated with Walker’s comments that UW faculty should do more work, saying no one realizes the time professors put in.

UW-Whitewater has not implemented a hiring freeze yet, but with so many unknowns they are looking at all their options.

“All of those positions that we would be currently hiring for, do those positions make sense in this environment? They may have made sense a month ago and maybe not so much now,” said Jeff Arnold, UW-Whitewater vice chancellor

One thing that Arnold does support in Walker’s proposal is more autonomy for the university.

“If we have greater autonomy and greater flexibility to deal with the cuts in the way that makes sense for us, I think that will help us, but again my sense is this one is going to be significant,” he said.