Daily Bread for 4.21.23: UW System to Assess Viability of 2-Year Campuses

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see intermittent clouds with a high of 57. Sunrise is 6:03 AM and sunset 7:43 PM for 13h 42m 01s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

This day in 753 BC is the traditional date on which Romulus founds Rome.

Rich Kremer reports UW System president calls for financial assessments of 2-year campuses amid steep enrollment declines (‘Directive comes months before classes cease at campus formerly known as UW-Richland’):

As a former two-year state college prepares for its final classes, University of Wisconsin System President Jay Rothman is asking chancellors to assess the financial viability of the state’s 12 other branch campuses. The directive comes amid steep enrollment declines at nearly all of the two-year schools and hesitancy by some counties to make large investments in branch campus buildings without renewed commitments the schools won’t close. 

In a letter to chancellors at four-year universities who took on former UW Colleges during a 2018 merger, Rothman calls for financial assessments at the branch campuses along with “innovative and creative approaches” to bolster them. 

“The enrollments at these campuses have declined precipitously over the last five years,” Rothman said. “In order to sustain accessibility at these locations, we must prioritize and develop an assessment that identifies and addresses any financial and operational issues.”

In the five years since the merger, enrollment across the UW System’s 12 branch campuses has fallen by an average of around 48 percent. Last November, Rothman announced in-person college classes at UW-Platteville’s two-year campus in Richland Center would end July 1 as just 60 students were enrolled there last fall. 

The announcement got the attention of county boards, which own and maintain the former colleges. Some have delayed major investments in maintenance and upgrades until they get renewed commitments from UW System that they won’t close those schools. 


Rothman’s letter states the goal of the assessments are to give chancellors “broad autonomy” in addressing enrollment and fiscal challenges in collaboration of the UW System Administration Office through periodic meetings. 

There is, of course, no ‘broad autonomy’ anywhere in the contemporary UW System. Decisions come from the center, and the grant of autonomy for any given chancellor simply allows the centralized System to disclaim responsibility for putatively local decisions.

Rothman began as System president less than a year ago, on 6.1.22, with a tacit mandate to consolidate and retrench. 

He’s right on schedule. 

Russian warplane accidentally bombs own city, injuring at least two people:

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