UW-Madison proposal could affect other four year campuses

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The possibility of UW-Madison breaking off from the UW System could have ripple, if not wave, effects on UW-Whitewater.

This was one of a few things discussed at a meeting with Gov. Scott Walker that included many top officials from the 13 UW System four-year universities.

UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin wants flexibility since state aid has declined recently. In a memo to the governor, Martin describes autonomy for the Madison campus that would, among other things, allow them to set their own tuition.

Martin warned Madison could be forced to raise tuition by 20 percent over the next couple years if the state cuts $50 million from the university’s budget.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow and others told the governor they would want the same flexibility.

Chancellor Richard Telfer was one who agreed with Gow.

“We talked to [the governor] about some of the concerns we have [with the upcoming budget],” Telfer said. “One of the things we are asking for is some flexibility to try to address some of the real needs of our campus.”

If UW-Madison were to separate from the UW System, it would be able to control its own tuition rate, govern its own campus, and allocate funds. According to some Whitewater Student Government senators, this could create too much competition between UW-Madison and other state schools.

Telfer said he believes there are some very good things associated with the UW System being together for 40 years.

“I see being together in one system as a very positive kind of thing,” Telfer said.

The effect of the increased price for health benefits and retirements for state employees worries Telfer about workers on UW-Whitewater’s campus.

“I understand the state is in a difficult situation,” Telfer said. “It really is asking the people who work for the state – particularly I’m concerned with this campus – [to] very quickly assume a much larger burden.”

Telfer said the take-home pay for state employees would go down around 15 percent if the bill is passed