Nobody conscious in Wisconsin needs reminding of this, but government here is truly bad right now when judging by any host of metrics. But if we focused on talking points, word salad would actually be welcome as delicious. So, if you are someone looking in from the outside, this is the daily horseshit we have to step through. Over to you, Governor:
On The University of Wisconsin: “I think it’s unfortunate,” Walker said of UW System president Ray Cross saying he would resign if tenure and shared faculty governance are eliminated. “This is exactly why you need to have these reforms and why you shouldn’t be able to have the faculty have a gun to the head of chancellors and administrators.”
Let us pause for a moment and think about how truly backwards this is, and deliberately so.
- Scott Walker really does equate state employees, especially teachers, with terrorists. This is the second time he has explicitly described such employees as being life threatening. “It’s just an expression!” you say? No, it’s a pattern.
Faculty are absolutely powerless. If faculty were “holding a gun” to anyone’s head, or had any power, they wouldn’t be speaking out so much. Why? There would be no need! The whole point of making your voice heard—whether faculty, staff, students, etc—is that we are powerless. Everyone conscious knows this.
Update for the confused: Chancellors are administrators.
The problem is the budget. Do I need to post my chart for the 5th time? Faculty did not make the budget. Faculty did not hand out tax breaks. Faculty did not deliberately short the state on revenue. Faculty did not cause, nor do they control, a single element of this budget-cut scenario.
Tenure is completely unrelated to the budget shortfall.
Shared governance is completely unrelated to the budget shortfall.
Those who do the state’s budget are entirely responsible for the budget shortfall and how Wisconsin will deal with it. As a faculty member, I can stand on my head while making armpit farts and it will not matter one bit beyond amusement.
Newsflash: Ray Cross was asked a question. He chose to answer “yes.” He could have answered “no.” He could change his mind right now with zero repercussions. Faculty have no influence on any of that. The man could literally change his answer on resigning to “I know you are but what am I” and absolutely nothing would change. Zero. It’s completely irrelevant.
Most importantly: only the privileged get to announce that they will willingly resign from a high-paid job. You know who doesn’t have this privilege? Pretty much everyone else in the UW System. I am tenured. If the state wanted, they could fire me under any number of bullshitisms right now, just ask the people in Michigan who don’t have pensions anymore.
Ray Cross saying he would resign is not a sign of pressure. It is a sign of privilege.
(Kudos to Ray Cross for knowing and agreeing with this, and actually emailing the faculty member to say he perfectly understood the context for the questions he’s been asked.)
So please, can people get back to doing their jobs? Especially the loudspeakers for “personal responsibility.” Yes, someone will say bad things (Try being a teacher!). Someone might hurt your fee fees (Ask a teacher about this some time!). That doesn’t change the basic, overlooked reality—you have a job to govern with the state’s best interests in mind, not whether or not some blogger (ahem) hurt your feelings.
My god, Wisconsin. Grow up.