Biddy Martin's response misses the mark

For immediate release
Kevin Gibbons

Alex Hanna

The Teaching Assistant Association (TAA) calls on Chancellor Biddy Martin to take a strong stance in opposition to Governor Walker’s budget repair bill. Her response to the bill to this point has been anything but.

In this time of crisis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we at the TAA are disappointed by the lack of clear response, vision, and true leadership from university administrators. As one of those administrators, we would hope that Chancellor Biddy Martin would speak out in support of the faculty, staff, students, and community surrounding the university. Instead, her statement in response to the bill that would strip the state’s public-sector unions of the right to bargain on anything other than wages is overly guarded. We would have hoped her response to address the following points:

-A clear statement about what the university can and will do to protect our
collective bargaining rights.

-Unconditional support for the right to her thousands of employees to bargain

-A clear message about the various ways in which this bill could affect the
university and the people who work for it. We would like to hear her say that this
bill would damage the quality of education at the university by making it harder to
recruit the best and brightest graduate students, hurting the research and teaching
functions of the UW.

-A promise to fight to uphold the Wisconsin Idea.

-Unwavering commitment to the University of Wisconsin as the public institution
upon with the state is founded.

-Not presenting the Badger Partnership as a solution to the loss of bargaining rights
facing TAs, PAs, and other university employees.

-A statement of how she will push the state in the future to commit to previous
levels of state support for the university.

This crisis is not about the Badger Partnership, and Martin’s suggestion that the partnership will help us in the current crisis is disingenuous. The partnership does not propose in any way to return to us the collective bargaining rights that this bill would strip from us.

Chancellor Martin says we need to wait to see the implications of this bill. Instead, we are lobbying over the next two days to ensure this bill is not passed, and we are hoping to get her support in that effort.