Letter: Lingering questions remain on UWSP’s “Point Forward” proposal
To the Editor:
Just like Representative Katrina Shankland stated in her November 16, 2018 editorial, I, too, have lingering questions about the latest Point Forward Proposal for UWSP.
It is unfortunate that as many as 11 faculty, as stated in the proposal, could be laid off as a result of this restructuring, and there are sure to be more when all is said and done, but there are equally dire consequences for the non-instructional employees of the university.
As pointed out in a September 12, 2018 article, UWSP may have to eliminate up to 70 full-time positions after another year of declining enrollment and decades of declining state support. With as little as 30 days’ notice, depending on employee type, many current staff could find themselves terminated as a result of the proposed outsourcing, consolidation, and elimination of non-instructional services.
People in central Wisconsin have long relied on UWSP for steady employment in a variety of state positions that keep our campus functioning behind the scenes. These positions offer solid wages and benefits, such as relatively low-cost health insurance and a modest pension for many residents in the area.
The latest Point Forward proposal states that UWSP will now begin looking at ways to outsource, consolidate or eliminate many of our non-instructional units, beginning with the Bookstore, to try and stabilize our budget. Sure, people in those units might be able to find other work in the central Wisconsin area, or they may be able to stay on with the private contractor taking over the job in question, but the same benefits and job security that allow for a financially stable household are not likely to be forthcoming.
The focus right now is on the loss of faculty positions, but I am equally saddened that this future will eliminate many of the non-instructional jobs that have contributed to the financial health of central Wisconsin families.