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Media Memo: Response to Eau Claire
Leader-Telegram Blugold Commitment story

TO: News/Assignment Editors and Directors

FROM: Mike Rindo, Executive Director of University Communications

DATE: Jan. 29, 2010

SUBJECT: Response to Eau Claire Leader-Telegram Blugold Commitment story

This memo is being sent to correct misleading and inaccurate information contained in today's Eau Claire Leader-Telegram story regarding UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Commitment proposal.

The story's lead states that "some UW-Eau Claire Student Senate members want to revisit" the decision to approve the Blugold Commitment. No elected student senators are quoted in the Leader-Telegram story, and we are unaware of any elected senator — including the student body president — who talked with the reporter for this story. The student quoted in the story is not an elected senator and does not have voting privileges.

The Blugold Commitment is not on the agenda for Monday's Student Senate meeting.

The article suggests that members of the Student Senate were not aware when voting on the proposal in December that some of the Blugold Commitment monies could be used to hire up to 50 new faculty and staff members.

The plan to hire faculty and staff with money from the Blugold Commitment has been discussed multiple times in a variety of formats since Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich first announced the Blugold Commitment initiative in August 2009.

The chancellor and other campus leaders worked closely with students throughout the process to develop and modify the proposal, including provisions to hire additional faculty and staff. In fact, Armon Tabrizi, the only student quoted in the Leader-Telegram article, chaired a Blugold Commitment task force titled "Faculty Hire Decisions yes/no/how."

Detailed information about the Blugold Commitment has been shared through presentations to the campus community; presentations to the Student Senate; on the Blugold Commitment Web site (with a prominent link from the university's home page); in e-mail messages to students and parents; through a chancellor Webcast to parents; in roundtable discussions with the chancellor; in one-on-one administrator visits with students; in presentations in classrooms; in numerous conversations with campus and community members; in multiple meetings that included student leaders; and in many other formats and settings.

The Blugold Commitment is a partnership of students, faculty and staff, and alumni and friends to preserve and enhance the distinctive UW-Eau Claire experience in the face of state funding constraints. It asks students to lead the way by investing in more of the high-impact educational practices that prepare them to succeed when they graduate. It asks faculty and staff to commit to providing an integrated curriculum and more experiential learning. And it asks alumni and friends to commit to raising more scholarship funds.

With the Blugold Commitment, differential tuition — a separate tuition above the tuition set annually by the UW System Board of Regents — would total $1,200 per year, phased in over four years. To assure that UW-Eau Claire continues to maintain access for low- and middle-income families, up to 40 percent of the tuition increase will be used to provide grants for students with need.

The Blugold Commitment will be presented to the UW System Board of Regents at its meeting Feb. 4-5.

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