UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin probably would have preferred lesser cuts her university's budget. However, the $125 million of cuts Gov. Walker proposed in his budget yesterday comes with a big present: The separation of UW-Madison from the UW System.
Under the system Walker proposes, UW-Madison will become a public authority, meaning it will get its state money in the form of a block grant to spend at its discretion. Hence, UW will be freed of many restrictions relating to faculty compensation and building expenses. Supporters say this will allow UW to raise more money by increasing tuition, which will allow it to offer better pay to professors that other top schools are competing for.
In addition, supporters have said that a new model will allow UW to build off its already-formidable fundraising operation. This is a point, however, that I have not seen explained well. While decreasing state aid might spur some to give more to UW, advocates of the public authority model seem to suggest that the burdensome regulations of the state prevents the university from bringing in private contributions.
In a matter of minutes, however, I will hopefully get the answers to my questions. Biddy Martin is hosting a live chat at 3 p.m. (that's now!) to discuss the implications of the public authority model.
Come join in!