The University of Wisconsin (UW) Madison Faculty Senate is preparing to have a vote of no confidence on Ray Cross, the UW System President. For newcomers, the System President oversees all UW campuses including Madison. Most campuses have a chancellor, Rebecca Blank in Madison’s case, as CEO. The issue, according to the Capital Times, is implementing the recent changes in tenure policy approved by the state:
[T]he draft no-confidence resolution focuses on the revision and passage of the UW-Madison campus tenure policy earlier this month without adequate involvement of campus representatives.
The faculty leadership seem to think it is a lost cause. David Vanness the President of the Madison chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP
). AAUP is a nation-wide organization for faculty. Here is a Capital Times
quote from him:
Vanness acknowledged the limited effectiveness a successful no-confidence vote might have. “Indeed, it is likely that President Cross and the Board of Regents will gain substantial public support from the governor and state legislative leadership for ‘standing up to the faculty,’” he told colleagues.
We know that the vote is a political activity and everybody is trying to spin it. That said, it is unclear to us how a vote of no-confidence can help the Madison faculty. It is unlikely that Cross will take any action based on the vote. It is likely that the vote would buoy the opposition as the faculty leadership acknowledge.
Faculty are our own worst enemy. We can complain about the mess the electorate have made of the presidential nominations but faculty cause our own problems all the time. We seem to conspire to make ourselves look bad. In Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio and many other circumstances our actions and inactions make us look like spoiled children. We really should be smarter than that since we are the smart folk.