Rebecca Blank, the taxpayer-funded chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has sent a number of emails to alumni openly lobbying against a budget proposed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker that includes cuts to higher education.
A Feb. 18 email from Blank blatantly implores alumni to call state legislators to complain about the proposed education cuts.
“If you choose to contact your legislator on behalf of the university, I encourage you to thank them for engaging in an active discussion about the university budget, tell them you recognize that the state is facing a difficult budget situation and that the university must do its share along with other state agencies, but that a budget cut of the magnitude called for in the proposed budget is just too big and will have a significant negative impact on UW-Madison and its students,” Blank propagandizes in the email obtained by The Daily Caller.
“I encourage you to stay informed about the UW budget by visiting uwalumni.com/advocacy,” the chancellor’s email, entitled “This week’s conversation with alumni,” further urges.
Blank, who was hired in 2013, collects a base salary of $495,000, plus various perks and benefits.
The posh income puts Blanks squarely in the top one percent among all Wisconsin residents.
The median income for a family of four in Wisconsin is $81,373, according to federal government data. Thus, Blank enjoys a salary $413,627 greater than the income of a typical Wisconsin nuclear family.
About $100,000 of Blank’s salary comes from privately-endowed funding sources. The remaining $395,000 is courtesy of Wisconsin’s taxpayers.
As of 2012, Walker’s salary was $144,423 — well over $300,000 less than Blank’s. (They work in the same city.)
A Feb. 5 email from Blank sternly rebukes Walker for his plan to reduce government spending.
“Governor Scott Walker has proposed cutting the University of Wisconsin System by $300 million over the next two years to help fill a state budget deficit,” she writes. “UW–Madison’s share of that cut is expected to be $57 million per year.”
Blank admits that Walker’s plan calls for a “two-year freeze for in-state undergraduate tuition” as well as “a public authority model that would provide flexibilities in areas such as purchasing, management of building projects, and authority over a pay plan for university employees.”
In the Feb. 5 email, Blank used her taxpayer-funded platform to beg students to prevail on elected lawmakers.
“I urge you to contact your legislators to ask them to reduce the proposed cut to the university budget,” the unelected chancellor wrote. She also again urged students to visit the alumni website, which rails against Walker’s budget cuts.
A third email obtained by TheDC dated Feb. 3 links to a YouTube spiel by Blank celebrating Founders’ Day at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Embrace your role as an advocate for this university in the debate” on the budget, Blank instructs YouTube viewers from her public perch.
“Call, write and email your elected officials,” she exhorts. “Tell them what the UW means to you as a citizen of Wisconsin, a voter and an alum. Speak out!” (RELATED: THE NEW CIVILITY: Wisconsin College Republicans Send All-Campus Email, Get Called ‘C**ts’)
University of Wisconsin officials have repeatedly asked the state government for more autonomy. Walker’s budget plan gives school leaders the autonomy they seek, in exchange for less direct state funding.
The plan is similar to Wisconsin Act 10, a 2011 bill proposed by Walker and passed by the state legislature to address a then-projected $3.6 billion budget deficit. The response to the Republican Governor’s budget-cutting legislation was protests galore and three years of losing lawsuits.
Follow Eric on Twitter. Like Eric on Facebook. Send education-related story tips to email@example.com.