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.