MADISON (WKOW) -- A proposal to divide UW-Madison from the University of Wisconsin system is dividing university leaders, faculty, and students.
Supporters and opponents of the plan debated the New Badger Partnership Tuesday at a panel discussion on campus.
Among the speakers was UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin, who has championed the proposal as a way for the university to continue its mission of excellence with less state aid.
"We came up with this plan as a way of trying to figure out how to control our own destiny in the face of enormous changes that are beyond our control," she said.
The proposal included the Governor's budget would involve changing the university from a state agency to a public authority. The structure would allow for more control over things like the school's budget, setting salaries of teachers, building facilities, and raising tuition.
But opponents of the model fear greater autonomy from the state will result in less state aid, and will require significant increases in tuition.
"State universities like Michigan and Penn State that have switched to high tuition models have seen their state governments pull back, and now they receive proportionally half of what we do," said Michael Bell, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology professor.
The UW System as a whole has come out against the proposal, saying all universities need the flexibility proposed for UW-Madison.
Some Republican leaders on the joint finance committee have discussed breaking the legislation out from the biennium budget and introducing it as a separate bill.
A number of Republicans have also expressed doubt that the proposal has enough support to move forward.
The UW Faculty Senate voted to throw its weight in support of the New Badger Partnership Monday.
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