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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire student walkout

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Julie Poquette

DATE: Feb. 17, 2011

SUBJECT: UW-Eau Claire student walkout

In anticipation of a possible UW-Eau Claire student walkout at 10 a.m. today in reaction to provisions in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill affecting UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich sent the following message via e-mail to all university employees:


Today I have been called to Madison to meet with Governor Scott Walker and UW System chancellors. I am aware, however, that Student Senate leaders have called for a student walkout this morning in solidarity with other Wisconsin campuses and school districts.

Of foremost concern to me is the safety and well-being of our students and campus. I ask that faculty and staff respect the rights of all our students — both those who elect to join the action and those who choose to remain in class — by honoring UW-Eau Claire's exemplary commitment and responsibility to scheduled classes, instruction and services.

For guidance I refer you to the e-mail distributed this morning by Donna Weber outlining current university policy regarding political activity.

Thank you for your responsible participation in our democratic process.

Brian Levin-Stankevich, Ph.D.

University employees also received via e-mail from Donna Weber, human resources director, a memo from Tomas Stafford, UW System General Counsel, regarding system policies on participation in political activities. Stafford's memo reads as follows:

All UW System institutions have a fine tradition of open debate and discussion on vital state issues, but it is necessary to remind all employees that they are prohibited from engaging in political activities during work time. Any political activities must be done on the employee's personal time.

  • In addition to the prohibition on political activities on work time, UW employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement are prohibited from engaging in any form of work stoppage or slow down (including "walkouts," "teach-outs," "sick-outs" or similar activities) and may be subject to discipline if they do so.

  • UW employees may not use state resources, including office supplies, computers, or vehicles to engage in political activities at any time.

  • Sick leave may not be used to participate in political activity. If a supervisor suspects that an employee is abusing sick leave, he or she may ask for a doctor's certification. Employees who refuse to come to work or are suspected of abusing sick leave are subject to discipline including being placed on "unauthorized leave without pay."

  • Faculty and teaching academic staff may not cancel class to participate in political activity, including attending rallies or demonstrations.

  • Faculty may not use colleague coverage unless the faculty member is sick or participating in university business. Political activity, including participating in rallies, demonstrations, or picketing is not university business.

  • Faculty and instructional academic staff may not take furlough during times when they have instructional duties.

  • Non-teaching academic and classified staff may use approved vacation, personal days or furlough days to participate in a political activity but must obtain approval prior to taking the leave.
We encourage you to continue to educate yourself about the state budget and its impact on yourself and our university.

Mike Rindo, UW-Eau Claire executive director of university communications, will be the university's spokesperson should the walkout take place. He will be available to members of the media near the Sprites sculpture on the Central Campus Mall, the expected site of the walkout. Rindo also can be reached via cell phone at 715-210-0339.

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