The following is a joint statement from the Wisconsin Conference of the AAUP and the AAUP chapters at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee:
Earlier today, Jim Johnsen withdrew from consideration to be the next UW System President. This is an unexpected but welcome outcome of a search process whose flaws have been clear from the start. It is a victory for all those who care about the UW System and the mission of public higher education in Wisconsin.
To all those who have made their voices heard, despite the clear indifference of the search committee and the Regent President, we say thank you.
Regent President Drew Petersen and Regent Michael Grebe, the search committee chair, were warned early and often about the problems of the search process they embarked upon. They chose to take the unprecedented steps of excluding faculty, staff, and students from the search committee, and of forwarding just a single finalist with a problematic record for the position. It is clear that the Board of Regents needs new leadership to conduct a successful search that can move the UW System forward. We call on Regent Petersen and Regent Grebe to step down and hasten the transition to a new majority on the Board.
We further call upon the Board of Regents to work in consultation with the systemwide faculty, staff, and student representatives to identify and appoint an interim system president to serve pending the outcome of a new, inclusive search.