At this point, the calls from Chancellor Biddy Martin and others in UW administration for the university to increase "flexibility" lack details. In general, the idea for the New Badger Partnership is clear: The UW wants independence from the state to set its own tuition. How this will lead to increased fundraising is unclear, however. UW student government leader Adam Johnson explains:
This is Chancellor Martin's proposal: FALSE, there is no proposal. There is a list of statutes that restrict our operations and the Chancellor has indicated that the University would like more leeway with those. That's it. There is no fleshed out Master Plan for language changes, that's the Governor's gambit still. We will know A LOT more after he presents the budget on February 22nd.
He also addresses the issue of tuition:
Tuition will rise: With or without the NBP, tuition will rise. Governor Walker and the Legislature are slashing all around and the UW WILL HAVE TUITION INCREASES. That's just a fact so let's not make THAT point central in this debate.
True, but there's a difference between a hike in tuition as a response to a budget deficit and a long-term systematic change that will permanently shift a greater burden of UW's costs onto students. What remains to be seen is whether Walker and the GOP leadership will be receptive to Martin's plans to raise tuition as a means to grant more scholarships to low-income students.
Another aspect of the plan that is clear is that it seeks to pay professors more. UW has had a problem with faculty leaving the university, in large part because we don't pay them as well as peer institutions.
Granted, the negative headlines associated with say, a ban on embryonic stem cell research at UW, could be a strong counter to any momentum the UW gains from the New Badger Partnership.