Lawmakers in Wisconsin advanced a daring proposal made by Gov. Scott Walker that would eliminate state laws guaranteeing faculty tenure at state universities, a dramatic potential shift that has faculty and administrators up in arms.
The Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted 12-4 Friday to approve a proposal that would eliminate tenure from state law and allow tenured faculty to be laid off even if a school isn’t in a declared financial emergency. The proposal would also weaken faculty influence in setting policy and would cut the University of Wisconsin (UW)’s budget by $250 million over the next two years, down from a $300 million cut that was proposed by Walker.
The elimination of tenure protections was first suggested by Walker back in February, but was considered a longshot proposal. The Joint Finance Committee, however, is tremendously influential, and its decision to send the rollback to the floor of the legislature is seen as making passage much more likely.