UW Regents Consider Ongoing Role


Some UW regents are wondering about their decision-making role following the latest budget dust-up with the state legislature.

State lawmakers are threatening to cut the UW System budget, and are scolding university officials for having a large budget reserve while still raising tuition. The UW has argued the reserve is appropriate, but agrees a tuition freeze is now justified. During the regents’ meeting in Milwaukee yesterday, Regent José Vásquez urged the growing number of board members appointed by Governor Scott Walker to talk with lawmakers and the governor about the board’s role.

“Because if we continue to lose ability to make decisions over this system, I would dare to say we’re no longer a true governing board. We’re an advisory body. We’re an ambassadorship body.”

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UW System President Kevin Reilly says it’s in the public interest to have the regents be a buffer between “immediate popular impulses.”

“You know, that’s why I’m not a cabinet secretary. That’s why I don’t report to the governor or the legislature. You want a citizen board to be an intermediary overseeing the university.”

Some regents note battles between regents and politicians have happened before, and the focus should be on building better relationships.