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UW's faculty senate votes in favor of UW System split
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UW's faculty senate votes in favor of UW System split

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UW-Madison's faculty senate voted Monday to support public authority status for the university, a controversial budget proposal that would split the flagship university from the rest of the University of Wisconsin System.

In doing so, they answered a call from UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin, who sought support for the plan from the campus, in the face of opposition from others in the UW System.

"UW-Madison has been shackled by the UW System from the time it was merged with the UW System," said Ronald Kalil, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, at the faculty senate meeting.

The measure was approved by a show of hands.

Although Gov. Scott Walker put the measure in his budget, leaders in the state Legislature say it is unlikely to remain there in its current form.

Under the plan, UW-Madison would get a 21-member board of trustees and more autonomy from the state to raise tuition, set salaries, build facilities and make purchases.

But the UW Board of Regents and other chancellors in the UW System oppose the split, arguing that all of the campuses in the System need more freedom from regulation.

Some faculty members said that if public authority status is unlikely, they hope the Legislature will provide the university with some autonomy in key areas.

Professor Brad Barham, chairman of the faculty senate's University Committee, said it would be a "disaster" if there were no compromise measure.

"We'll probably get nothing," he said.

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