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Nass: UW-Madison break off not happening

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Kevin Hoffman
May 19, 2011
— State Rep. Steve Nass on Tuesday said Republican lawmakers favor keeping UW-Madison linked to the state system, and will instead work toward giving some financial flexibilities to all UW campuses.

Nass, R-Whitewater, said Republicans discussed the issue Tuesday in caucus. Gov. Scott Walker included the measure in his proposed budget, which would give the system’s flagship campus more autonomy and governance separate from the Board of Regents.


The remaining UW campuses oppose the measure, insisting UW-Madison stay in the state system and all universities are given the freedom to use their revenue more efficiently.


The Republicans’ caucus meeting Tuesday indicates state legislators are moving in that direction, though it’s too early to tell what sort of flexibilities will be approved and whether they’ll go as far as chancellors would prefer.


“The break-off is not going to happen,” Nass said. “I am aware that some members of the Joint Finance Committee are working on flexibilities for all campuses.”


Nass, who is chairman of the Assembly’s Colleges and Universities Committee, is among a handful of Republicans who recently spoke out against Walker’s proposal. Nass has offered his own alternative, which would grant more flexibility for all campuses.


Rep. Dean Knudson, R-Hudson, and Rep. Evan Wynn, R-Whitewater, also oppose the plan.


Wynn recently told Whitewater residents during a public hearing he thought the plan would significantly increase tuition and end benefits given to veteran students attending UW-Madison.


“We owe it to our brave men and women in uniform to give them high-quality education so that they can integrate themselves into civilian life and get a job to provide for their families,” Wynn said in a statement.


“Simply put, an independent UW-Madison will not guarantee the Wisconsin GI Bill, and will not equally share the costs with the rest of the UW System,” he said.



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