UW-Eau Claire University Senate holds off on vote of no confidence

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. ( WEAU) -- The University Senate at UW-Eau Claire has tabled the discussion on whether it should make a vote of no confidence against UW System leaders.

During the senate’s final session this academic year at the Davis Center, Tuesday, it discussed whether the UW System is holding to the Wisconsin Idea, and if not, if it should pass a vote of no confidence.

The senate is looking to show support for the Wisconsin Idea which is the guiding mission of the UW System.

The mission is supposed to reinforce the importance of pursuing truth and sharing knowledge.

Chair of the University Senate Mitch Freymiller said this discussion is their way of responding, “to what they see as having important rights of theirs taken away by the Legislature and the Board of Regents.

The resolution stems from frustration over UW officals' failure to protect the institution from budget cuts, changes to tenure and shared governance.

If passed it would ask the regents and UW-System President Ray Cross to recommit themselves to the mission of the Wisconsin Idea.

Freymiller said, “What we're doing is supporting the Wisconsin Idea and asking President Cross and the Board of Regents to work with us and recommit to supporting that idea.”

The move would be mainly be symbolic as it would have no legal effect,

The majority of senators who spoke at the meeting were in favor of the resolution saying it would be a gesture of solidarity with the other universities.

Despite their comments the senate decided to hold off on a final vote.

UW-Madison lead the way last week in declaring a lack of confidence in the regents and Cross since then others have followed suit.

However, outgoing UW-Eau Claire student body president, Jake Wrasse, is calling the discussion childish and says it will do more harm than good.

“The idea that the regent or that UW System President Cross didn't do anything to protect the Wisconsin Idea is absurd,” said Wrasse.

“Everything they did, all of last spring, was aimed at having a politically competent ways of describing to legislatures why they shouldn't do what they're doing. It’s an uniformed, ill-advised, vote that is only going to embarrass them further.”

Wrasse wrote a letter to members of the University Senate in which he questions what it is trying to accomplish with the vote.

“This is only going to hurt them more in the future because of their political naiveté and their overly idealistic view of how things work, not only in politics in general, but specifically in Wisconsin, and in the climate in which we operate,” said Wrasse. “Passing something like this only shows they're out of touch which is something legislatures are fond of saying anyway.”

The vote would have no legal effect but it does asks the Regents and Cross to strengthen the quality of our state universities as well as respect shared governance at the UW System.

If the issue is taken up again it will need to be brought back before the full senate in September.

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