In a statement, interim UW System President Tommy Thompson said he is already working to centralize certain administrative programs that would save the system money in the long run. He opposed Roth’s call for regional consolidation, saying “our universities are strong when they are accessible and connected to their communities.”
“A proposal to regionalize them threatens these critical connections by adding bureaucracy that will impede their ability to respond to community needs and depress local fundraising and business support facilitated by campus leadership,” Thompson said. “I believe the regional approach would be a step in the wrong direction.”
Jon Shelton, AFT-Wisconsin’s vice president for higher education and a professor at UW-Green Bay, expressed concern over Roth’s idea to further consolidate campuses, arguing the data on projected enrollment declines is unclear at best.
“We are in a moment where faculty and staff on every campus are working hard to ensure greater access to higher education in our state, but this report calls for the Board of Regents to restrict that access by consolidating campuses regionally,” Shelton said.