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Green Bay Chamber supports UW System plan

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The board of directors of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce voted Thursday (April 28) to support a resolution urging adoption of the Wisconsin Idea Partnership.

The partnership is the plan advanced by the Board of Regents and UW System administration that would afford more administrative flexibility to each UW System institution while maintaing an intact system including the state’s flagship university.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden, a member of the board, said the flexibilities are critical and required immediately if campuses are to deal with the double-digit funding reductions proposed in the 2011-13 state budget. The resolution is as follows:

RESOLUTION: SUPPORTING THE WISCONSIN IDEA PARTNERSHIP

WHEREAS, the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of higher education to our state’s economy; and

WHEREAS, the Chamber believes it is desirable and long overdue to deregulate higher education in Wisconsin and that the legislature should provide the necessary management and operational flexibilities required to enable our institutions of higher education to reduce costs by pursuing innovations and cost-savings within a highly competitive marketplace; and

WHEREAS, the Chamber believes the Wisconsin Idea Partnership as advanced by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is a solid foundation for action and that the series of changes to state law which it proposes are ready for immediate enactment; and

WHEREAS, the Wisconsin Idea Partnership

  • couples desired management and operational flexibilities within the existing governance structure that has so well served and advanced our state’s educational and economic interest,
  • preserves the strength of a unified state system of higher education while empowering all UW-System institutions by delegating to them managerial authority to adopt creative, innovative and cost-saving measures, and
  • alters existing bidding and contract systems to enable local, responsive and campus-based approaches that benefit local businesses; and

WHEREAS, the Chamber believes a special study of the structure of UW governance represents a workable, practical, careful and thoughtful approach to these issues, removing structural considerations from the budget proposal and allowing the legislature to concentrate attention on providing managerial and operational flexibility to all UW-System institutions; and

WHEREAS, the Chamber believes that such flexibility is a crucial step in improving the efficiency of the UW-System while at the same time reinvigorating the economy by enabling local businesses to compete for opportunities to serve both local campuses and the entire university system;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce supports deregulation of the University of Wisconsin System as advanced in the Wisconsin Idea Partnership, and calls upon the legislature to enact it, while postponing for further consideration any other governance changes until more input can be received from the public, education and business leaders.

Adopted by the Board of Directors of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, this 28th day of April, 2011.

Gail McNutt, Chairman of the Board                     Fred Monique, Interim President

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