Friday, October 4, 2019


Support the Reaching Higher for Higher Ed Bills

Target: Wisconsin State Legislature

Wisconsin State Representative Katrina Shankland and State Senator Dave Hansen recently released the "Reaching Higher for Higher Education" package of bills. These bills would accomplish the following:

  • Fully fund the the UW System tuition freeze by increasing funding for general program operations.
  • Require that all future tuition freezes for the UW System be funded, ensuring that educators have the resources they need so students won't wait for courses to graduate.
  • Fully fund the Wisconsin Technical College System's 2019-2021 budget request.
  • Create a 19-member Blue Ribbon Commission for the UW System, tasked with studying and facilitating discussion of a public agenda for higher education, a set of long-term goals and priorities for higher education, and accessibility and affordability of education—including the feasibility of establishing a state program to provide debt-free college education to all Wisconsin residents. 
  • End the wait list for need-based financial aid for UW System and technical college students by increasing funding for Wisconsin Grants.
  • Remit UW undergraduate student teacher tuition for the semester they are student teaching.
Sign the Petition: Support the Reaching Higher for Higher Ed Bills (clinking the link will take you to the Action Network).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Message from Tony Evers

Dear higher education leaders:

I’m running for Governor because I believe what is best for our students is best for our state. I am proud to have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with you for the past two decades, and I am so honored to have your endorsement. Together, we will reverse the damage from the past eight years and fund our universities, respect our faculty and staff, and prepare our students to lead our state forward.

I love this state, and I’ve lived in communities all around Wisconsin. From my time as a high school science teacher to my current job as State Superintendent, I have dedicated my life to fighting for our kids, fully funding public education, and investing in Wisconsin’s future. Yet, far too often over the past eight years, the Wisconsin I know and love has become nearly unrecognizable. I’ve watched more than one million people across Wisconsin vote to raise our own taxes because the Governor has left us to pick up the tab on supporting our local schools. I’ve watched world-renowned educators leave the UW System for states that prioritize higher education rather than gut it. Most distressingly, the Board of Regents has become an institution more concerned with Walker’s politics than teaching, learning and research.

Since I’ve begun my campaign for governor, I’ve had the opportunity to hear about higher education from education leaders across our state, including those with AFT-Wisconsin. President Kim Kohlhaas has worked hard to make sure I understand the concerns of members from across the state. Recently, I sat down with Vice President for Higher Education Jon Shelton, a faculty member at UW-Green Bay. Jon shared with me the Higher Education Council’s UW Worker Bill of Rights, which outlines a long-term vision for what our university system should look like: one in which faculty, staff, and students are treated as important stakeholders in shaping the future of the UW system. Finally, just last week, I also heard about devastating program cuts at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. To be clear, these cuts are the long-term consequences of Republican disinvestment and choices made by regents in lock-step with Walker’s agenda. We must reclaim the Wisconsin Idea, which values the pursuit of truth and the good of our state above the corporate interests of Walker and his billionaire backers.

As Governor, my administration will prioritize these values we share with AFT-Higher Ed members:
  • Funding the Freeze. I championed this issue at the Board of Regents, and understand we cannot keep freezing tuition while cutting funding. As Governor, I will reinvest in UW and prioritize access and affordability without compromising quality.
  • Engaging Stakeholders on Merger Implementation. Too much of the merger plan has been shrouded in secrecy. As Governor, I will expect transparency and stakeholder engagement from UW leadership to ensure program quality and continuity.
  • Restoring Shared Governance. We accomplish more when we work together, and Wisconsin had a long-standing, bipartisan tradition of shared governance. I will fight alongside faculty and students to reverse the Governor Walker and Republicans’ attacks on shared governance.
  • Restoring Faculty Tenure. Governor Walker and Republicans’ attacks on tenure have devastated morale, driven away outstanding faculty, and made recruitment and retention a nightmare. I will fight to restore this cornerstone of higher education.
  • Protecting Student & Faculty Free Speech. Governor Walker and Republicans have polarized campuses, chilling student and faculty speech with draconian penalties. This is a solution in search of problem, and I will work with you all to empower voices and end these policies on our campuses.
I know that as Governor there is so much more I can do to help build a stronger and brighter future for Wisconsin, but I’m going to need your help on November 6th. Every phone called, door knocked and dollar raised could make the difference in a state with a long history of close elections. Together, we can restore the University of Wisconsin’s world renown stature and our progressive tradition.

Tony Evers

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Cancelled! 2018 Gubernatorial Election Forum

After assessing weather conditions the organizers of the Gubernatorial Candidate Forum scheduled for this coming Monday evening (April 16) have cancelled the event.

Please join us for a 2018 Gubernatorial Election Forum featuring candidates Tony Evers, Matt Flynn, Mahlon Mitchell, and Kathleen Vinehout*

This event, hosted by UWGB-United (the faculty and staff union at UWGB), is free and open to the public.  The candidates will answer questions about higher education, economic opportunity, and more. 
Campus guests can park in the Mary Ann Cofrin Hall lot.  Enter in the student union, and go down the central stairwell.  The Christie Theater will be toward your left after you go down the stairs.
Want to ask a question?  Please submit through the following link, and we will contact you if we select your question!

Questions? Jon Shelton:
*Each candidate’s campaign has confirmed attendance

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Members Give Assist to Black Lives United's "Back to School" Backpack Drive

For the second consecutive year, the grassroots Green Bay community organizing group Black Lives United (BLU) organized a “Back to School” drive to help families in the area struggling to pay for school supplies. The effort took place across the month of August, and it all culminated in a “drop-off” day event on Sunday, August 20. People from across Green Bay dropped off backpacks, school supplies, and donations at the residence of UWGB-United member Jon Shelton. BLU also hosted a conversation about race and racism on drop-off day. Four UWGB-United members — Patricia Terry, Jon Shelton, Andrew Austin, and Adam Gaines — were there and others (including Mike Draney and Linda Briggs-Dineen) donated to the cause, too. Altogether, BLU collected thirty backpacks filled with supplies and another $850 in donations to buy more!

Union President Andrew Austin and Secretary Patricia Terry
engage in a conversation about race and racism with
BLU leader Stephanie Ortiz and UWGB student Ibrahim Budul.

UWGB-United Plays Key Role in AFT-W Higher Ed Council’s “Fund the Freeze” Campaign

From the modest beginnings of a small meeting in Stevens Point in September 2016, the AFT-Wisconsin Higher Education Council (HEC) developed a state-wide budget campaign called “Fund the Freeze.” Revolving around a pledge that called for fully funding tuition freeze over the next two biennia, the HEC got the support of SGA’s, Faculty Senates, and Academic Staff Senates across the state, in addition to two state senators and seven assembly representatives (including Green Bay’s own Senator Dave Hansen and Assembly Representative Eric Genrich).

AFT-W locals across the UW system held on campus events during “Fund the Freeze” week late March, and our panel discussion and march were among the most well attended in Wisconsin. (Thanks to both Dave Hansen and Eric Genrich for speaking at both!)

With generous financial support from AFT-Wisconsin and from UW-Milwaukee’s Local 3535, the HEC launched a facebook ad connected to the pledge. The post garnered 4,000 “likes” and the pledge and additional 1,500 signatures from faculty, staff, students, and the public across Wisconsin.

The HEC capped it all off with a media conference call in May. Union leaders Dan Strouthes (Eau Claire), Andy Felt (Stevens Point), and Jon Shelton (Green Bay) joined a call with three pledge signatories form the legislature: Jill Billings (La Crosse), Katrina Shankland (Stevens Point), and Genrich. You can read all about the conference call here.

Thanks to all of our members in Green Bay and the HEC for all of their hard work in changing the narrative around funding public higher education in Wisconsin!