A no-confidence vote in UW Colleges chancellor Cathy Sandeen failed to win support last week, with just 38 percent favoring the measure among the Colleges’ nearly 300 faculty. The vote was considered a long shot from the beginning, partly because of logistics: faculty were off-contract with the school year done and less likely to cast a ballot.

The effort to censure Sandeen was spearheaded by seven faculty who lead academic departments in the network of 13 two-year colleges.

They voiced displeasure in Sandeen’s approach to dealing with massive state cuts, which were estimated to be $6.5 million if Gov. Scott Walker’s full proposed $300 million cut went through. The Legislature’s budget-writing committee last week approved a slight trim to Walker’s cut, reducing it to $250 million.

Sandeen has proposed a two-step reorganization plan that, in its more severe form, would slash the number of non-teaching administrators on each campus and centralize many campus services in Madison. Overall, it would shed 88 jobs and mean an overall loss of nearly 10 percent of the overall workforce.

Sandeen announced the first round of proposed changes on May 15, with the next round to come once the final details of the state budget cut are known, expected to be this month. The no-confidence measure included 11 points of concern. It chided Sandeen for announcing cuts before the final budget numbers were known and said the plan “does not accurately reflect the substantial negative impact on the quality of services to students,” among other concerns.

Sandeen just started as chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension in December and walked into perhaps the most challenging time in the colleges’ history. The changes she proposed came after years of study both by outside consultants and campus groups.

UW faculty petition Regents on tenure

A petition started by a UW-Madison faculty member calls upon the UW System Board of Regents to resist a new effort by state lawmakers to eliminate requirements that tenured faculty may only be removed for just cause and after due process is followed.

Such a measure, proposed by the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee last week, would have “a chilling effect upon the research and teaching activities of our faculty and staff,” the petition reads. As of noon Monday, it had 428 signers.

Dave Vanness, a professor in the school of medicine and public health, said he plans to deliver the petition to the Board of Regents at its meeting in Milwaukee on Thursday and Friday.

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Reporter, Wisconsin State Journal