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UW-Milwaukee chancellor will step down next year, return to teaching

FILE - In this image provided by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mark Mone speaks at a press conference in the student union at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wis. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone announced Wednesday, July 3, 2204, that he plans to step down next year and transition to a teaching role as the UW system continues to struggle financially. (Derek Rickert/University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee via AP, File)
Original Publication Date July 03, 2024 - 10:36 AM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone announced Wednesday that he plans to step down next summer, a move that comes after years of grappling with the UW system's financial woes and taking criticism that he mishandled pro-Palestinian campus protests this spring.

Mone said in a post on the social platform X that he will resign as leader of the Universities of Wisconsin's second-largest campus effective July 1, 2025. He said he will move into a teaching role at the university's business school. He didn't elaborate on why he has chosen to step down.

Asked for an explanation, UW-Milwaukee spokesperson Angelica Duria said in an email to The Associated Press, “It was a deeply personal decision for Chancellor Mone and for him, it is the right time.”

Mone has served as chancellor at UW-Milwaukee since 2014.

He took pointed criticism from Jewish groups in May after he reached a deal to end a pro-Palestinian campus protest. The dayslong demonstration was part of a nationwide protest on college campuses against Israel’s war in Gaza.

The university agreed to call for a cease-fire in Gaza, condemn the destruction of universities in Gaza, discuss the possibility of UW-Milwaukee's foundation cutting ties with Israeli companies, review the university's study abroad programs, and not issue citations or conduct violations against student groups involved in the protest.

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Hillel Milwaukee and the Anti-Defamation League all accused Mone of giving in to the protesters.

Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman took Mone to task over the deal as well, posting on X that campuses need to remain viewpoint-neutral and make sure actions on campus have consequences.

Like all chancellors across the Universities of Wisconsin system, Mone also struggled with financial problems brought on largely by declining enrollment and relatively flat state aid.

Shrinking enrollment has forced UW officials to close or announce plans to close six two-year branch campuses around the state since 2023. Among those schools is UW-Milwaukee's Waukesha campus, which is set to close after the spring 2025 semester.

Ten of the UW system's 13 four-year universities faced deficits last year, with UW-Milwaukee facing the largest shortfall at $18.8 million.

The school announced plans this past January to sell the chancellor's residence to help close a projected $18.8 million deficit. The residence remains on the market for $1.2 million, according to a Powers Realty Group listing. The school also has eliminated nearly 90 positions.

Financial data UW system officials presented to regents earlier this month show six universities face deficits over the coming academic year. UW-Milwaukee is expected to finish in the black.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has said he plans to ask the Legislature for $800 million for the system in his next budget, but if Republicans maintain control of both the Assembly and Senate in this fall's elections it's almost certain they won't hand the system that much money.

Mone praised his administration in his statement for withstanding a global pandemic as well as managing budget cuts and enrollment “challenges.”

“Thanks to the steadfast work of my predecessors, administrators and our dedicated faculty, staff and students, we have achieved far more than what the dwindling state support could enable,” he said. “We should all feel gratified about what we have accomplished together and with our community support.”

Rothman said in a statement Wednesday that Mone “consistently elevated” UW-Milwaukee.

“We owe Mark a debt of gratitude for his service and look forward to his future of ongoing service at UWM,” Rothman said.

News from © The Associated Press, 2024
The Associated Press

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