March 13, 2002
MADISON-University of Wisconsin System President Katharine C. Lyall has ordered
an immediate hiring freeze for all UW campuses, a move that affects 26
communities around the state.
Bracing for the most devastating budget cuts in the history of the UW System,
Lyall instructed UW chancellors not to fill vacant positions on their campuses
and to begin working on contingency budget plans should the Legislature follow
through with cuts proposed by Assembly Republicans over the weekend.
The Board of Regents on Friday halted any further undergraduate admissions in
the face of an additional $20 million cut to the UW System imposed by the Joint
Finance Committee. Over the weekend, the situation grew worse, noted Lyall, as
the Assembly Republican Caucus added another $50 million in cuts.
"When the state cut the University by $33 million in 1995-96," said
Lyall, "we had more than a year to plan for those cuts. Right now, the more
than $100 million in cuts on the table would go into effect in four
Lyall noted that these cuts follow three decades of declining state support for
the UW System. When adjusted for inflation, the university's state budget is
about the same as it was in 1992, while the state budget has grown 75 percent.
Lyall noted that 85 percent of the university's budget is tied up in salaries,
and such a large proposed cut would put a significant number of university
positions on the chopping block.
"We realize that enrollment cuts and associated cuts in our workforce
will be very damaging not only to campuses but to their local communities as
well. These are brain gain jobs, good paying jobs," noted Lyall, and
"we would hate to see them lost."
"It would be tragic if the UW System, an engine of the state economy, were
stymied in its effort to help the state," added Lyall.
Lyall noted that the UW System chancellors and Board of Regents are monitoring
the budget situation on a daily basis.
"The Governor is trying to help as are other members of the
legislature," noted Lyall. "I hope we can get some assurance that the
money will be restored to serve these additional students."
"We are aware of the inconvenience and anxiety that this freeze is causing
prospective students and their families," added Lyall, "and we are
determined to find a way to admit as many students as the state will
The Assembly budget bill, expected to pass later this week, also calls for very
specific cuts and revenue adjustments, including cutting 83 percent of the
university's GPR travel budget, 20 percent of the GPR printing budget and 153
percent (more than all GPR budgeted) of the university's advertising budget. In
addition, the Assembly budget bill would raise tuition for nonresident
undergraduates by an additional 10 percent.
"These cuts directly affect undergraduate students," said Lyall.
"Students travel on field trips for their classes and to conduct volunteer
work in their communities, and many of our publications are designed to get
needed information to students and prospective students and their
CONTACT: Erik Christianson
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 13, 2002