One of the most important jobs I have as chancellor is to tell the UW-Eau Claire story to Wisconsin — to legislators, the business community, parents, students and supporters. And right now the story I am telling is about the impact the state budget reduction is having on our campus.
It’s a sobering story to tell. And an important one.
This morning at the annual Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Davies Center, I shared with 175 members of the business community what a $7.7 million reduction from this biennial budget looks like: A cut of 179 faculty and staff positions. A 150 percent increase in faculty resignations this spring over last year. A 36 percent increase in classes with more than 50 students. And zero reserves left in our general fund. (See the excerpted text of my presentation this morning.)
I talked about how we are working hard to preserve the quality of a Blugold education in the face of these challenges — the eight initiatives we have underway and the incredible work of our faculty and staff who continue to put student needs first.
But I also told them that continued reductions to UW System and UW-Eau Claire directly impact them as well. When budget cuts take faculty out of our classrooms and our ability to provide quality graduates is undermined, the Chippewa Valley and Wisconsin suffer. I asked them to get the word to our legislators that it’s time to reinvest in Wisconsin’s universities.
It’s a message that bears repeating. So I told it to Governor Scott Walker when he was on campus yesterday. I’m telling it to the Sunrise Exchange Club on Wednesday morning. I’m hand-delivering it to the Board of Regents next week. And I’m going to keep telling this story all year because Wisconsin needs to know that budget cuts have consequences.
You can help me tell the story too. View the handout I’m using to show the impact of the budget on UW-Eau Claire, how we’re responding and what will make a difference. Feel free to share this with your neighbors and friends. Let’s tell this story together.