Boots & Sabers

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1533, 09 Apr 16

Blank Won’t Layoff Tenured Faculty

That’s a bit of a blanket statement.

UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank said Friday that the university won’t lay off tenured faculty so long as it remains a leading research school.

“Top-ranked universities always take care of their tenured faculty,” Blank said in a blog post. “As long as this university is a top-ranked institution we will behave like other top-ranked universities. That means we don’t layoff tenured faculty. Period.”

Blank published the post after a monthslong battle over the future of tenure at the state’s flagship institution came to a close Friday when the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a new policy for faculty layoffs on the campus.

Nowhere in that statement did she mention educating kids. That is no longer a priority at UW Madison. That’s OK, but it’s important to remember their priority when debating policy and the taxpayers’ obligations to it.

Even as it is, the commitment to never layoff tenured faculty is far too absolute to be good management. What that statement means is that she is willing to watch the university burn to the ground around her before she lays off a single tenured faculty member – to hell with all of the other stakeholders.

Let’s hope that Chancellor Blank is just engaging in a bit of hyperbole to soothe a skittish staff and that she doesn’t actually mean what she said.


1533, 09 April 2016


  1. Pat

    This was approved by the board of regents which consists of 18 individuals with 16 appointed by the governor.
    The scope and purpose was specific to tenure which is probably why Blank didn’t include anything specifically related to education programs for the students.

  2. Dave

    Perhaps she is trying to reassure faculty in order to retain the world class individuals we now have that have started to accept offers at other research universities. The governor tried to destroy the Wisconsin Idea and you wonder why Blank feels she needs to reassure faculty?! This quote from the article linked below pretty well sums it up:
    “Professors do not want research limited by the whims of 18 people appointed by a governor with an anti-education agenda.”

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