TAA’s statement on the withdrawal of Jim Johnsen

TAA’s statement on the withdrawal of Jim Johnsen
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For more information, contact:
Alejandra Canales, CV Vitolo-Haddad

Press release: TAA’s statement on the withdrawal of Jim Johnsen

June 16, 2020

On Friday June 12th, Jim Johnsen withdrew from consideration for the position of UW-System president.

His announcement marks the end of this failed search which was marred throughout by a lack of transparency in the search process and meaningful engagement with the UW community. Stakeholders, including graduate student workers, were excluded from the search committee, and the search committee put forward only a single finalist for consideration. The finalist, Jim Johnsen, has led a destructive tenure in the University of Alaska system, and would have been terrible for the University of Wisconsin system as well.

We are proud of the active role the TAA and its members took in preventing the search committee from forcing through Jim Johnsen, and we will remain vigilant during the upcoming search for a new president for our university system. We also extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our labor comrades and allies who spoke up. 

The mishandling of the search process has been one more demonstration of the poor judgment of Regent President Andrew S. Peterson and search committee chair Michael Grebe. We stand with members of the American Association of University Professors at University of Wisconsin-Madison and call on each to step down prior to the beginning of a new system president search. Further, we demand the next search committee include  democratically-appointed students, graduate workers, academic staff, faculty, and other administrators who are representative of their constituencies to have true shared governance at our institution.