While UW is experiencing a budget hole of $170 million, Thompson said the losses related to the pandemic were more than $600 million dollars before federal and state Covid-19 relief funds helped fill some of that gap.
“We implemented employee furloughs. We also restricted traveling. We also didn’t fill some vacancies and we’ve also had to institute layoffs,” Thompson said.
How much of that is because of the policy choices made by UW officials? More to the point, how much of that budget hole are they responsible for? Many UW campuses chose to stay closed or only very limited opening well after it was clear that young people were not in a high risk category. Many campuses remained mostly closed. Even for next year…
As Action 2 News previously reported, UW schools are planning to have at least 75 percent of all classes in-person this fall.
Part of the traditional university experience is the on-campus learning and social environment. UW stripped that experience away and many students chose to take a break or go somewhere else. How much should the taxpayers be on the hook for a budget hole that was partially created by policy decisions? Thompson lists out some measures that UW officials took to mitigate the issue, but did they do enough? Should taxpayers expect more aggressive actions before providing additional funds? I truly don’t know the answers to those questions. They are not meant to be provocative, but I do think they are questions that need to be answered prior to throwing more taxpayer money into the system.
Tin-Pot will have about $3BN to throw around. Maybe Tommy can beg it from him.
UW Madison alone had about $3,400,000,000 in endowments. $170 million is chump change.