University of Wisconsin regents sign off on tuition hike

Also, a plan on sexual violence and harassment has been approved

University of Wisconsin System leaders have signed off on raising out-of-state and graduate tuition by hundreds of dollars at a number of campuses.

The plan calls for raising out-of-state undergraduate tuition and graduate tuition at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Stout, and all the system’s two-year institutions. The schools say they need the extra tuition dollars to bring nonresident rates more in line with peer institutions and retain faculty.

The move comes as the system continues to grapple with a freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition that’s now in its fourth year. It marks the third round of out-of-state and graduate tuition increases at La Crosse, Milwaukee, and Stout since 2015.

The Board of Regents approved the increases on a voice vote, Thursday. In addition, regents have approved asking legislators for an additional $78 million to bulk up employee raises over the next two years.

System leaders say they need to increase raises to keep pace with salary increases at peer institutions. A memo sent to the regents shows that UW-Madison faculty salaries were 18-percent lower than peer faculty after adjustments for geographic costs of living. Chancellors and system leaders would have discretion in who would receive raises and how large the raises would be.

The money would come form the state’s compensation reserves, not tuition.

Revisions to the system’s sexual violence and harassment policies requiring all staff and students participate in online training, was also approved, Thursday.

The policy has not been updated since 1987. In 2014, System President Ray Cross, asked a task force to come up with recommendations for revisions. The task force’s changes included mandatory online training for every system student and employee, as well as more in-depth training for supervisors and others involved in disciplinary matters.

The policy unequivocally states that no instructor may start a relationship with his or her student and relationships between employees in which one has authority over the other are prohibited unless the employee with authority reports the relationship and takes steps to mitigate the potential conflict.

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