The AAUP makes an attempt to have a board member attend meetings of the Board of Regents, and generally to make some remarks during the public comment period at the beginning.
The 2015/2016 meeting schedule of the Regents is
- July 9, noon
- August 13* (Petersen Room)
- September 10 (Petersen Room)
- October 8 (UW Tacoma)
- November 12 (Petersen Room)
- December 10* ( Petersen Room)
* The April, August, and December meetings may be canceled, circumstances permitting.
At the 14th May Board of Regents Meeting, Robert Wood delivered the statement (below) on the corporatization of the UW at the Board of Regents meeting, on behalf of the AAUP UW Chapter.
This was one of a total of nine public comments presented to the Regents at their May 14th meeting. Other public comments were all from students and included:
- A statement from Alex Lenferna from Divest UW, who are about to win a significant victory in persuading the UW to divest from coal stocks.
- A student comment on the unaffordability of student housing.
- Six students from the Reclaim-UW coalition stating their demands for a more democratic and equitable UW, which include more openness in leadership and budgets; a racial equity fund of $1M to fund minority faculty and students; fair pay for practicums in Social Work, where currently students pay to work; restoration of UW custodian positions eliminated since 2008; affordable and accessible childcare for UW students, staff and faculty; a call for a tuition freeze not only for resident undergrads but for graduate programs and out of state students: graduate program tuition increases are expected to be in the range 3-10% per year over the next few years.
AAUP-UW Statement to Regents on the corporatization of the UW, May 14th 2015.
The bedrock idea of higher education as a public good that serves to provide knowledge and education to the state’s citizens is under great threat. The state revenue crisis, another departed UW president, and a budget model that devalues academic quality, is leading the University of Washington to act more like a private corporation than a flagship public university. The UW needs leadership who will prioritize instruction and full funding for education over their personal or corporate interests, and we need a democratic process to find these leaders.
- State funding for UW collapsed by 45% from 2008-2012 and has only recently started to recover.
- Meanwhile, undergraduate tuition has skyrocketed, rising by $4,000 between 2009 -2012. Half of UW students graduate with student debt.
- As a result, the university has become dramatically more corporatized over this period, has solicited record amounts of corporate donations, has expanded corporate partnerships dramatically, and taken out billions of dollars in bond debt to drive up student demand.
- Former Presidents Emmert and Young, and many former and current regents, have been some of the strongest voices arguing for the corporatization of our university. In true corporate fashion, both Emmert and Young left for better paying jobs.
- Four Regents are up for re-appointment by September of 2016. Many are closely linked to employers who have fought against creating new sustainable revenue for higher education, either via them lobbying for huge tax breaks for themselves, or directly fighting against sustainable, progressive revenue for education. The Regents have also been criticized extensively by UW stakeholders and the media for breaking state rules 24 times to meet behind closed doors.
- We need an open and inclusive process to select the next UW President, who will rally the UW community in defense of its proud history as a public university. This includes genuine input from faculty, students and staff, rather than simply soliciting opinions.
- Moreover, we need an open and inclusive process for appointing UW Regents who fully support the interests of the University, and are not compromised by their links to huge corporations. Those seeking re-appointments should re-affirm their commitment to higher education by signing our petition on corporatization, fighting for new revenue, and pushing your employers to do the same.
Amy Hagopian, AAUP Board secretary delivered these remarks at the April 9, 2015, board meeting.