Did the Wisconsin state system just abolish tenure?

I don’t think so, not really.  Here is one explanation:

The proposed changes would also remove tenure protections from state law. Darling and Harsdorf both said that Wisconsin is the only state that enshrines tenure in its statutes.

The GOP proposal puts the decision of whether to have tenure and how to define it in the hands of the Board of Regents.

“We believe in empowering the Board of Regents and the chancellors throughout the state of Wisconsin to be able to manage the System,” Nygren said. “I think this is a tool to enable them to do that.”

Cross and Board of Regents vice president Regina Miller pledged to uphold the tenets of shared governance and tenure in their policies.

For sure that is a decline in the relative status of tenure, but not an end to tenure itself.

By the way, I’ve seen so many criticisms of the $400 million Paulson gift to Harvard, almost making it sound worse than if he had kept the money for himself, as most people do with $400 million.  Without a well-worked out theory of university endowments, and their importance and function (they do seem to matter), I don’t see a hard and shut case for condemning this gift.  At the very least, it is likely to boost investment’ note that about 15% of Harvard’s endowment goes to private equity or venture capital.  I do understand however that this gift sends an anti-egalitarian message about status relations and where investment should go.


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