Tragic Incident in Minneapolis

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander and Chief of Police David Jones to the UW-Green Bay community on Friday, May 29, 2020.

Dear UW-Green Bay community,

We would like to take a moment to address the tragic incident in the City of Minneapolis and the resulting civil unrest that has ensued across the country. Our deepest sympathies go to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends. This was a devastating incident and it should not have happened.

At UW-Green Bay, we place great emphasis on the safety of our community and want to reassure you that our university police officers are trained to use force only in situations that are absolutely necessary. Our officers have worked diligently to earn the trust of the community and have formed meaningful partnerships based on mutual respect. Our officers are well trained, educated, and have proven their ability to resolve situations peacefully time and time again. On the rare occasions when a use of force is unavoidable, only the minimum amount of force required to obtain control of a situation is used. We take pride in knowing that our philosophy of public safety is working, with no excessive force complaints filed against our department in several years.

Incidents such as the death of Mr. Floyd are not localized and erode the trust in law enforcement across the country. As an institution of higher learning we must work together to seek resolutions for the issues affecting our community. As disturbing as this matter is, it provides a platform for change, learning, the opportunity to examine our practices, and to have conversations on how we can best serve our students, faculty, and staff.

Over the coming months you will see a series of initiatives at UW-Green Bay designed to further build trust, transparency and communication regarding sensitive topics. One of these initiatives will be a “Citizens Police Academy” where community members will be exposed to the training and challenges affecting law enforcement today. Other initiatives will include a ride along program and regular open forums with the Chief of Police.

While we continue to mourn the events in Minneapolis, we will continue to work together to ensure the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is not only a safe community, but one that is united in treating all members of our community with respect.


Michael Alexander

David Jones
Chief of Police

Faculty and Staff Update

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander to faculty and staff on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

I realize that not all faculty and staff were able to attend our most recent Coffee Break conversation.  Since that event, I have been asked by some faculty to send a note to campus to ensure that everyone understood my viewpoints on a number of current topics.  During this time, I know that communication is key and would like to do my best to reiterate the points I made during the Coffee Break and keep everyone informed. I want to make certain that we retain the atmosphere of trust and positive morale on our campus moving forward.  It is vital to the short and long-term health of our institution.  I also understand that the recent comments from UW-System have caused great concerns.  I will also address those below.

1)      The Blueprint put forward by President Cross and the UW-System has not been adopted by the Board of Regents.  As such, they are only ideas that were introduced without plans for implementation.  UW-Green Bay has a unique mission and vision and we will work with UW System to ensure that we are able to continue on our path to achieving it.  The best thing we can do as a campus is to control what we can control, which is to do our best to achieve our mission, recruit and retain students, and be good financial stewards of our resources.  To the extent we achieve those objectives, we place ourselves in the strongest position possible to support the faculty, staff, and students at UW-Green Bay.

2)      I acknowledge the anxiety about the future of our university and the UW System.  As you have already seen, we have taken steps to institute furloughs through this December to preserve our good financial position and mitigate the risks we face as a campus moving forward.  We will do everything we can to ensure we retain the outstanding faculty and staff necessary to carry out our mission.

3)      I recognize there is still a lot of uncertainty around the fall semester.  Unfortunately, I do not see the uncertainty changing soon.  However, we have announced our intentions to slowly reopen the campus on July 1 and to hold some version of in-person, hybrid, and online offerings for the fall.  I am so appreciative of the tremendous flexibility you all have already shown in readying our campus for possible contingencies.  We will use the Federal CARES Act funds to support our faculty and staff to be ready for the “new normal” in the fall.  In my opinion, the greatest risk we currently face as a university is to not get this right.  A significant drop in enrollment will leave us with no other option than having to make very difficult personnel decisions.

4)      I understand that faculty and staff are concerned about their health and safety as we slowly reopen campus.  The first priority we have as an institution is the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students.  If you have concerns or need accommodations to the way you do your work due to conditions that put you or your loved ones at risk, please contact HR so that we can begin to sort out how to help make sure you feel safe in the workplace.

5)      I am fully supportive of academic freedom.  The content of every course is fully up to the person teaching it.  In these extraordinary times, we must just be willing to adapt our delivery methods to current circumstances and as always, do all we can to give the best educational experience possible to our students.

6)      I know the sudden transition to online instruction in March was a challenge for all faculty and staff.  I trust faculty and instructors to recognize the unknowns ahead and structure their individual course syllabi to ensure they are prepared for potential shifts in modes of instruction. CATL will provide support to assist faculty in being ready for the fall.  We cannot overstate the gratitude we have for our staff and their role in keeping the university moving forward during this difficult time

7)      As I stated at the Coffee Break, “I work for you.”  We value shared governance, tenure, and academic freedom.  We are stronger when we are together and we want to support all faculty and staff to reach their pedagogical, research, creative activity, and professional goals.  This in turn helps our students reach their goals and the university to excel.

8)      I will gladly listen to any individual faculty, staff member, or any group on campus who would like to share concerns about any issues on campus.  All campus leadership will continue to work with Shared Governance Units in addressing any concerns which may arise as we move forward in making UW-Green Bay successful.  Each one of you is vital in fulfilling the mission of our university, and I know our campus is at its best when everyone is free to share their concerns and to advocate for working conditions that will make them healthier and more productive.  We may not always agree on the best way to solve a problem, but I pledge to always listen to anyone’s point of view and do my best to explain the reasoning on how we are reaching decisions that impact the university.


Michael Alexander

We are so proud of you

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following on behalf of the faculty and staff to the University community on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Today was meant to be a grand celebration of UW-Green Bay graduates and their families at the Kress Events Center. Instead, we want all of you to know we are thinking about you, especially our graduating seniors. Congratulations to all of you who made it through this difficult time. We can’t wait to celebrate with you in August. Watch the video UW-Green Bay: Honoring Our 2020 Spring Graduates.

Campus Update to Students

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander to students on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

Dear UW-Green Bay Students,

Each day, I am exceptionally proud to work for the students, faculty, and staff at UW-Green Bay. I’ve found that this University is an amazing place with incredible people. The way you continue to respond to the challenges that we have faced over the last two months is truly overwhelming. You have all faced unprecedented challenges this year and continue to be resilient, caring and dedicated to pursuing your dreams and making our communities better places to live, work and play. I look forward to our conversation tomorrow at the Student Coffee Break to be able to answer your questions. Since not everyone will be able to be at the online gathering tomorrow, I thought I would also update you here on some items of importance.

  1. If you have any concerns about your registration, ability to pay tuition, or need emergency support of any kind, please contact us immediately at We are here to help and thousands of you have already received assistance. Your University is here to support you through this time and beyond.
  2. We intend to have in-person classes in the fall. We also understand that some of you would prefer to have online or hybrid options for your education next semester and even beyond. To expand the ways we serve you, we are working to create a University that can be as nimble as possible for the next academic year. We do not know what the pandemic will bring next, but know that we are doing everything we can to prepare for any and all possible scenarios to accommodate all students to access education in the fall in the way they feel most comfortable.
  3. We have formed a task force consisting of five working groups to address all of the issues we will need to solve this summer to be ready for the fall. The working groups include academic delivery, health and safety, events, residence life and finances. These groups will advise us on the best ways to proceed in the fall. We will send regular updates throughout the summer to keep you apprised of the progress we are making.

I am very pleased that the retention rate of our current students is higher than it has been in a long time. We are listening to you, intend to continue to listen to you, and want to support you through your time with us in every way that we possibly can. Please know that we value every student and stubbornly refuse to let the current crisis interrupt your educational journey. I have so much respect for the way the members of our student body have handled themselves this year. Please stay safe this summer, stay connected with us for updates, and for those that will not be taking summer classes, we look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Finally, and most importantly, congratulations to our graduating class. Our communities need you. Use what you have learned at this University to make the world a better place. You join a group of nearly 40,000 alumni who have graduated from UW-Green Bay and are united by a common spirit. It’s probably never been more befitting of a time to embrace being a Phoenix. Together we are capable, we are tenacious, and we will rise!Remember that we are always here to support you on your journey and that we are all exceptionally proud to call you our alumni.

I hope to see as many of you as are able tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Coffee Break student listening session. Please join us if you are able. If you are not able to attend, and if you have any questions you would like answered, please connect with us at

Warmest regards,


Michael Alexander
UW-Green Bay, Chancellor

Campus Update

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander to faculty and staff on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Each day, I am exceptionally proud to work for the faculty and staff at UW-Green Bay. This University is an amazing place with incredible people. The way you continue to respond to the unprecedented challenges that we have faced over the last two months is truly overwhelming. However, despite our best efforts, we still have many unknowns and financial hurdles that we must clear to make it through the current crisis.

To this point, we have deliberately been slow in announcing furloughs in the hopes that our path through the crisis would become more clear. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that we must take some preventative measures to be able to better ensure the long-term health of our institution. These are painful decisions, particularly because of the immense work that everyone on this campus has done to put us on solid financial footing before COVID-19.

In order to remain fiscally responsible, we must find ways to offset the 5% budget lapse that we will need to give back before the end of this fiscal year. In our case, it will likely amount to approximately $1.4 million. As a result of the furloughs in May, we were able to conserve approximately $250,000. In June, we will widen the scope of our furloughs to reach approximately $360,750. All staff that will be furloughed in June should have been contacted by their supervisors as this memo is being sent. In order to reach these higher savings, all staff with an annual salary of $70,000 or more will take a minimum of two intermittent furlough days for the month of June.

There is some better news to report. As a result of our work leading up to the virus, furloughs in May and June, promising signs on the enrollment front, and the work of our task force groups, we intend to bring everyone back to work on July 1. We will still encourage telecommuting where possible, but will lift general restrictions on faculty and staff being on campus and provide details regarding the safety measures we will take for those that want or need to return to the campus to get their work done.

However, because of the risks that still lie ahead, we must also enact furloughs from July through December and take other measures to reduce our financial exposure moving ahead. The furloughs over those six months will be across the board and unlike earlier furloughs, will include faculty when they are back on contract in August. They will not include limited term employees or ad-hoc instructors. The furloughs are also tiered to ensure that we are protecting the bulk of our campus as much as possible from additional financial harm from the virus. The plan below will save the campus a projected $466,080 in the first six months of the next fiscal year.

The entire campus will take a furlough day on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, the day after Thanksgiving. Below is the projected total number of assigned furlough days (inclusive of Nov. 27) and the projected savings:

Salary Range # of employees Days Total Days Savings
150,000 + 9 9 81 72,500*
100,000 – 149,999 32 6 192 82,680
70,000 – 99,999 89 4 356 103,700
69,999 – below 567 2 1134 207,200
Total 697 1763 $466,080

(*includes a voluntary salary reduction)

Additionally, we will be offering specific VSIP (Volunteer Separation Incentive Program) in the coming weeks. The VSIPS are voluntary and will be offered to individuals by area leaders based upon expected long-term savings to the institution. Finally, while we hope program revenues will return in the fall, we must reserve the option to take additional cost saving measures for units on campus that rely on program revenues in the event that we are unable to generate any income due to the impacts of COVID-19. This would be a last resort and only done to protect the core mission of the University, which is to offer instruction to students. These areas could include units like Union/Dining, Residence Life, University Recreation, Weidner Center, and Athletics.

The anxiety and disruption caused by COVID-19 is real, but so is the resiliency of this campus community. We will get through this, with some sacrifice no doubt, but also by forging ahead in the most positive and responsible way possible. Our community is suffering right now. I know I am asking you all to sacrifice due to no fault of your own. However, the potential consequences of not being able to navigate successfully through the current crisis are immense, not just to UW-Green Bay, but to our capacity to support a more equitable and sustainable future for our students and our region. I say this knowing that we have the people to get us to the other side of this. We will do so united, and with determination, empathy, and the fierce belief that our mission and vision matters to our students and to the future of our region and state.

Sheryl Van Gruensven, Kate Burns, and I will answer your questions about what I have written above and talk further about our academic plans when we meet together at the Coffee Break Q and A, tomorrow (May 15, 2020) at 8:30 a.m. Please join us if you are able. Please take care of each other and I look forward to talking with you soon.

Warmest regards,


UW-Green Bay Arboretum and Outdoor Spaces

The UW-Green Bay Office of the Chancellor emailed the following from Chancellor Michael Alexander to the campus community on Thursday,  May 7, 2020.

Dear Campus Community,

Over the past several weeks, we have been asked by many members of the internal and external community when we would begin allowing access to the outdoor public spaces on our Green Bay Campus. Campus leadership has been debating this for some time. We are often asked why are the trails and arboretum not open when Gov. Evers lifted restrictions on outdoor recreation areas. The arboretum trails are part of the campus, they are funded by student fees, grants and sponsorships and gifts. Different than a municipal, county or state park, the trails are not created for the purpose of public recreation. They are part of the University and serve the mission of providing educational and research opportunities for our students and faculty. Of course, during normal times the University is happy to have the public and the campus community use these trails for recreation, but these are not normal times.

A number of things will factor into our decisions to open these spaces. The top priority is the safety of our employees and visitors. That said, we are anxious to open our trails, natural areas and golf courses to the public. It is our intention to work toward opening these areas on July 1, but please be aware that our plans may have to be flexible based on conditions on July 1. Due to recent flooding and rain, large portions of our arboretum trails on the Green Bay Campus are in disrepair. Our staff is working as quickly as possible to prepare for the safe use of all of these areas in the coming weeks. We have many staff members on furlough due to COVID-19 and it is slowing our normal progress to prepare the spaces. We are also closely monitoring the advice of local health experts on when and how to open.

Thank you for your patience and we look forward to opening these spaces as soon as we can do so in a manner that is safe to the public and our faculty, staff, and students.

Michael Alexander