Friday, August 18, 2006

UW Regent Easily Refutes Charges by Mark Green

UW Board of Regents president David Walsh sent a letter to Mark Green today in response to some of the charges Green leveled against the UW System recently.

Here’s a brief summary, point-by-point:

  • Out-of-state tuition: Green demanded that the UW Regents reverse a decision to decrease non-resident tuition. Walsh points out to Green that out-of-state tuition increases during the 1990s – when Green was a state legislator – helped lead to a reduction of 900 non-resident students from the UW System between 2001-2002 and 2004-2005. And with these students went $13 million in revenue from the system – revenue that could’ve been used to off-set in-state tuition. The modest decrease in non-resident tuition this upcoming year (except UW-Madison, which won’t see any drop) -- which will still leave it three times higher than resident tuition -- is an attempt to recapture those students and that needed revenue.
  • Lawson deal: Green accused the UW System of mismanagement on the purchase of a HR software system that cost $26 million (over five years and including the salaries of UW employees working on the project), which has subsequently been scrapped. Green demanded the managers of the project be held accountable. Walsh points out in his letter: “As you have no doubt been informed, the administrators of that system are no longer employed by the University of Wisconsin System.” Ouch.
  • Faith-based student groups: Green has openly criticized the UW System for supposedly being hostile to faith-based student groups. Walsh points out that the UW campuses each boast numerous faith-based student groups. However, there are certain anti-discrimination rules that regulate all groups on campus, and the organization identified by Green has not abided by those rules. The majority of other faith-based groups on campus, however, do abide by those rules, and thus are allowed to continue their formal affiliation with the UW.
  • Kevin Barrett: Green has asked that the Board of Regents step in and fire Kevin Barrett in spite of the decision made by UW-Madison not to do so. Walsh asks Green if he has any evidence to show that Barrett will not teach his course “in a manner consistent with the rules of the University.” If not, then the Board trusts that students will have the ability to “sift and winnow” through controversial ideas when presented to them in an appropriate manner.
At the end of the letter, Walsh notes that he heard of Green's complaints through a reporter. Part of the release by Green appears in letter format and is addressed to Walsh, but there's no telling if it was directly sent to his office or merely addressed to him through the press release.

If it turns out that Green didn't send a copy directly to Walsh, then it would suggest Green's preferred method of working with the UW is based far more on style than substance.

To be sure, the relatively easy manner in which Walsh refuted Green's charges -- particularly on the Lawson deal and the non-resident tuition issue -- already demonstrates how lacking in substance the charges were to start.


Blogger Mpeterson said...

Nicely summed up. Using the press to black -- I mean, 'Green-mail' the Regents?

Too bad it only works when... oh, right. It doesn't work.


August 18, 2006  

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