- Current and former faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are calling for the removal of the university's chancellor and provost amid plans to cut faculty and six academic majors, alleging "chronic financial mismanagement," the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
- A letter of "no confidence" in the pair was signed by more than 100 current and former faculty and staff, 130 community members and 32 students. The contested plans to cut low-enrollment majors such as French, history and geography as well as to lay off eight to 10 faculty members are in an effort to reduce the university's $8 million deficit.
- The letter says the administration has been unclear as to the extent of the cuts and how the deficit will be addressed. It also accuses the administration of a lack of transparency and of mishandling a sexual harassment issue.
Wisconsin spent about 22% less on public higher education this year than it did in 2008 when adjusted for inflation, which is above the 16% average decline nationwide for the period, according to a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Those cuts and shrinking enrollment of about 1.5% across the University of Wisconsin System this year are often blamed for cramping college budgets in the state and requiring changes in programs.
The UW System got approval in June to merge its 13 two-year institutions with seven of its four-year colleges. The administration at UW-Oshkosh, a four-year college, has drawn fire for a plan to save $1 million by increasing some teaching loads in the 2019-20 academic year to reduce the need for adjunct instructors. Last fall, the four-year UW-Superior suspended 25 programs in a cost-cutting move.
The CBPP report showed all but four states this year spent less on higher education than they did in 2008, before the recession triggered significant cuts by most. States on average provided $1,502 less per student in 2018 as compared to 2008. Spending per student is down by more than 30% in nine states for the period.
In July, the University of Iowa announced plans to close seven centers and reduce funding for others in a move that will eliminate 33 positions; it expects to save $3.6 million as a result of the changes. Other state institutions have announced cuts to faculty and staff in recent months, including Western Kentucky University (140 positions), Evergreen State College (24 positions) and University of Nebraska at Kearney (38 positions). In August, the University of Akron announced nearly one-fifth of its degrees and degree tracks will be "phased out." The news comes a few months after it was announced the university was anticipating a $16 million budget deficit for the 2018-19 fiscal year.