Many School of Journalism profs offer support

A letter of support from most of the professors at the top-ranked School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UW-Madison.

February 16, 2011
To the Governor and Legislature:

We, the undersigned faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, oppose the cuts to state employee benefits now being pushed through the Wisconsin legislature by Governor Scott Walker. We believe they will grievously harm the University of Wisconsin, its undergraduates, graduate students, employees, and, not least, all of the people of the state.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison brings much more money into the state of Wisconsin than it receives from the legislature. In 2009-2010 the UW generated $684.2 million in federal grants alone and an additional $490 million in grants and gifts, for a total of about $1.2 billion. (This figure is conservative, and excludes other revenues generated by UW, for example out-of-state tuition.) The State of Wisconsin appropriated $457 million for UW-Madison. In other words, for every dollar that the state gave UW-Madison, 2.6 came back. This doesn’t even begin to account for new high technology businesses generating thousands of good jobs, the jobs of the future for the people of our state, including EPIC, CETUS and others.

This income-generating creativity is a direct result of the effort of thousands of UW faculty, staff, and graduate students. And it is that very creativity that is directly threatened by the proposed salary cuts and abrogation of bargaining rights.

UW faculty, like all state employees have taken a three percent salary cut as a result of furloughs. Years of proposed raises have been deferred, and we rank towards the bottom of the Big Ten in salary. We recognize that times are hard for everyone in Wisconsin, and have willingly shared in the pain of our fellow citizens. But our larger point is that if the proposed cuts go through, many of our brightest faculty will leave UW and generating these extraordinary surpluses will no longer be possible. Further, we will no longer be able to attract the best graduate students in the nation. It took more than 150 years to build a world-class institution that benefits the people of the state. It will take less than ten to ruin it.

We stand in solidarity with our sister universities throughout the state, and with the teachers, office workers, and many others who clear our roads, guard our prisons, keep us safe, and educate our children. We want a Wisconsin that looks forward, toward a bright future in a 21th century economy. And we also want a civil Wisconsin, where critical decisions concerning hundreds of thousands of citizens aren’t made overnight by fiat. We have real problems in our state; to solve them, we must sit down together. The decisions of one person, even the governor, cannot create solutions. One person rule will only breed further conflict. We call on the governor and the legislature to take a step back, to listen to all of the state’s citizens, and to work together to build a common future.
Lewis A. Friedland
Greg Downey
Jo Ellen Fair
Hemant Shah
Stephen Vaughn
Hernando Rojas
Douglas McLeod
Dhavan Shah
Young Mie Kim
Patricia Hastings
Karyn Riddle
Deborah Blum
James Danky
Al Gunther
Shawnika Hull
Sue Robinson
Robert Drechsel
Stephen Ward
Susan Brandscheid
Contact: Lewis Friedland, (414) 736-4665