What the NBP Really Costs

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
UW-Madison is a rock star. Look at how we stack up in nearly every ranking imaginable! It is a public Ivy, and there is no objective indication that the model that built this institution has stopped working, causing a consistent downward slide. Indeed, its own press office notes that it "continues to be lauded" and the Badger Herald reports the same from key members of the Administration.

Now consider this: For the last 18+ months, University Administration has spent an enormous amount of time trying to change the way UW-Madison is governed and financed. They've pushed a plan that includes no specific, demonstrable cost savings. And their efforts have consumed enormous resources, including but not limited to a preponderance of the time and attention of all Bascom Hall leaders (at least 10-12 people, if not more), their staff, deans and other administrators, faculty from across campus, and graduate and undergraduate students. Plus all of those media resources (town hall meetings, flyering, computing time, etc). Not to mention the resources spent by our alumni on the Badger Advocates and the WAA's robocalls promoting the NBP.

And for what? All that money spent to promote a plan without a single demonstrable $ savings attached to it? And now, rumors that instead of "money-saving" flexibilities we are going to get not one but two new governing boards?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again-- a hard look at this plan indicates that it's not about money, it's about power.

My crystal ball says the first thing to go is shared governance. It is undoubtedly inefficient. And many of those in charge give us every reason to think they don't truly believe in it.

The big question is this: Do you? What are you willing to do to protect it?

Or perhaps, instead, you'll welcome a shift to professor accountability, such as that being implemented at public universities which lack shared governance.