Members of the UW System Board of Regents took advantage of Friday’s meeting in Whitewater to publically speak out against an Assembly bill that would make it a felony to conduct research with newly procured fetal tissue. Regents from both ends of the political spectrum including Gerald Whitburn, Charles Pruitt, Michael Grebe and Regent President Regina Millner characterized the legislation as over-reach, saying that ethical, vital, state-of-the-art research, especially at UW-Madison, would be imperiled if the bill passes. The Capital Times has coverage. For more on the fetal-tissue issue, and other items of interest from Friday’s meeting, see the UW System recap.
A busy day of public events celebrating the 50th anniversary of UWGB’s founding opened with a Wednesday morning breakfast program in the University Union’s Phoenix Room.
The University’s first Student Government Association president, Scott Knapp, was the keynote speaker. Now the CEO of Central Maine Community College, Knapp shared memories of his relationship with Founding Chancellor Edward Weidner, the earliest days of the new campus, and being asked to speak at the official groundbreaking for UWGB in November 1967.
Also offering remarks were UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt (who presented Miller and the University a key to the city), and proud Class of 1971 alumnus Sen. Dave Hansen (who presented a flag that had flown over the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison). Ron Pfeifer was emcee.
The invitation-only breakfast was also attended by other early 1970s graduates, current students and student government leaders, longtime community supporters (including Dr. Herb and Crystal Sandmire, friends of UWGB since 1969), emeriti faculty, University officials, the senior member of UW-Green Bay’s faculty (Prof. Kumar Kangayappan), Marge and Ellen Weidner, UW System officials including the deans of nearby UW Colleges, System President Ray Cross and Regent President Regina Millner, Regent Tim Higgins, Council of Trustees and Alumni leadership, and others. First graduate Nancy Ably Deprey ’70 and “most recent graduate” Victoria Zacarias ‘15 were acknowledged for their participation in the campus 50th anniversary video.
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Photos by UW-Green Bay staff members Dan Moore and Kelly Selner
U.S. Representative Reid Ribble is a sponsor of H.R. 3120, the Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act of 2015, a bill he says would help equip farmers to reduce excess nutrient loading that has seen water bodies including the Bay of Green Bay suffer seasonal “dead zones.” H.R. 3120 would create an initiative for states in the Great Lakes Basin to establish “innovative, proactive programs that help farms of all sizes and all commodities to prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks.” Ribble has hosted a series of listening sessions and stakeholder meetings prompted in part by highly publicized research – some of it involving UW-Green Bay faculty, students and alumni – showing phosphorous-laden runoff is causing algae blooms and oxygen problems in the bay. If you’re interested in the topic, the Wisconsin State Farmer news site had an ag-centric view of Ribble’s project posted online. The piece quotes experts including local dairyman Gordon Spiers and UWGB watershed specialist Prof. Kevin Fermanich of Natural and Applied Sciences.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller distributed a short letter with the title “Budget Reduction Update” to UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members this morning (April 21). He shared that the University’s leaders and advocates continue to have constructive conversations with state legislators about the size of the UW System funding cuts and important new flexibilities. He summarized this month’s Board of Regents developments. He also amended his earlier projection that the University might identify and announce its budget-reduction plans by mid-May. Because of the slower-than-expected pace of legislative action on the budget, the Chancellor now believes final decisions will be made no earlier than late June.
Vos says Walker cut similar to Doyle’s
Robin Vos says Walker cut to UW budget is similar to Doyle’s but Dems didn’t protest
It doesn’t look like the Legislature will support Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to grant the UW System autonomy from state oversight and laws, including the setting of tuition rates, key lawmakers said Tuesday. That’s the gist, anyway, of an AP story that quotes Rep. John Nygren, co-chairman of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, as saying the autonomy proposal “might be on life support.” Others quoted in the story, however, say the flexibility options remain very much alive. Read more.
State Sen. Frank Lasee is among the state lawmakers who argue that Gov. Walker’s proposed reductions for the UW System aren’t as large as UW officials make them out to be. When measured against the totality of the System’s $6.1 billion annual budget, Lasee says, a $150 million cut is a 2.5 percent reduction. (System officials say the more appropriate figure to cite is closer to $1 billion – the amount provided by state GPR taxpayer support – without including tuition revenue, gifts, grants and revenue from auxiliaries including housing, dining and more.) If you’re interested in reading Lasee’s argument, see his guest piece in the Wisconsin State Journal.
We told you here yesterday about the growing number of UW-Green Bay alumni now serving in the state Legislature. We erred, however, by omitting yet another Phoenix alum, Tyler Vorpagel ’07. Vorpagel, an aide to retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, was elected Nov. 4 to the state Assembly seat for District 27. He joins alumni Scott Krug ’09, R-Rome and Romaine R. Quinn ’14, R-Rice Lake in the state Assembly. Fellow alums Dave Hansen ’71, D-Green Bay; Rob Cowles ’75, R-Allouez; and Frank Lasee ’86, R-Ledgeview, are serving in the state Senate. Our thanks to Assistant Prof. Aaron Weinschenk for catching the omission.
We told you here recently about the Nov. 4 reelection of UW-Green Bay alumni Frank Lasee ’86, R-Ledgeview (state Senate); and Scott Krug ’09, R-Rome (state Assembly). It turns out UW-Green Bay had another alumnus, Romaine R. Quinn ’14, newly elected to the Assembly that day, bringing the total number of Phoenix alumni serving in the state legislature to five. UW-Green Bay grads Dave Hansen ’71, D-Green Bay; and Rob Cowles ’75, R-Allouez, also serve in the state Senate. Hansen and Cowles are midway through their terms and were not up for election Nov. 4. You can read more about Quinn, who at just 24 years old is also the former mayor of Rice Lake, and a graduate of the Adult Degree Program, in this story from the Eau Claire Leader Telegram.
Here’s an interesting take from the Madison publication Isthmus. One of their columnists posits that new UW System President Ray Cross might be the perfect man for these times, given his apparent ability to work with what could be a long-lived Republican legislature.