On the Announcement of Budget Cuts at UW-Whitewater

One reads from UW-Whitewater’s chancellor, Dr. Dwight Watson, information about possible budget cuts at UW-Whitewater. (The full announcement appears at the bottom of this post.)

A few remarks:

Announced cuts aren’t always the same as final cuts; there may be fiscal changes yet ahead as the Wisconsin Legislature may act to mitigate this situation (and that of other UW System schools).

These proposed cuts were a matter of discussion for some time, both at Hyer Hall and (more significantly) in Madison. It may be news to Whitewater, but there have been many weeks of discussions beforehand. (An open question was the size of the proposed reductions, and so it seemed best to wait to write about these fiscal challenges.)

It was always a misunderstanding for this chancellor to feel he had the luxury of time to evaluate conditions at UW-Whitewater. ‘Listen, learn, and lead’ should better have been spent on a Rooseveltian 100 days’ effort of urgent change (fiscal being only one of this campus’s serious concerns).

Finally, about former chancellor Beverly Kopper, who has now retired: she was never coming back, for goodness’ sake. (In a disastrous interview in August 2019 with a local paper, Dr. Watson – who spoke as though she would be returning – welcomed that return.) It’s hard to overlook the combination of poor judgment and poor information his remarks represented.

All in all, there are sure to be twists and turns ahead.

Announcement screenshot follows (click image for full size):

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3 years ago

It’s a sad day here on campus. There has been huge stress about this (yes, people did know). No one has confidence that the administration will push back very hard. It’s all about implementing what we’re told. There will be a lot of sympathetic words but that’s about all. Yes, about Beverly she was done here when she resigned. I have absolutely no idea why the chancellor said otherwise.

Stephanie Vander Pas
3 years ago

It’s weird how a chancellor who “couldn’t read budgets” and came into office with reasonably sized reserves didn’t in any way prepare for well-predicted declines in enrollment (probably amplified by the wonderful press she attracted). It’s almost as if she were distracted by something, like, preserving her career…it’s a sad situation. Chancellor Kopper’s tenure hurt far more people than those ten women (although I, rightfully so, feel it is quite different)—and we’re about to find out exactly how many.