Chancellor addresses vaccine, state budgets

Katie Pulvermacher, Staff Writer

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt acknowledged community concerns with COVID-19, budget proposals, the fall 2021 semester and things to be looking forward to at a town hall meeting last week.

“We’re off to a great start in this semester,” Leavitt said. “If you happen to be on campus, you notice students, you notice people. It’s my sincere hope that we’ll be back to some reasonable new normal as quickly as possible.”

Governor Tony Evers’ proposed 2021-23 state budget

Gov. Tony Evers proposed his 2021-23 biennial budget, regarding funding toward higher education.

The tiers include $40 million in cost to continue funding UW colleges, $50 million to cover the tuition freeze and $40 million in general block grant funding, which would help the UW system apply funding where it sees fit.

“The $50 million [for the tuition freeze] is predicated on the notion of ‘funding the freeze’,” Assistant to the Chancellor Alex Hummel said. “This would essentially lean on GPR to make us whole and keep us going, because we do not have the ability to raise tuition and cover a lot of the associated costs.”

Gov. Evers has also integrated a tuition promise program, which mirrors Bucky’s Tuition Promise program that was launched at UW-Madison. $39 million would go toward allowing and supporting students from families whose gross income is $60,000 or less to attend any UW system institutions.

The Freshwater Collaborative, a constellation of universities working on freshwater technology, conservation and related disciplines throughout the state, is directly invested with $9 million.

Prison education initiative is funded $5 million, $10 million to student behavioral health, $5 million toward foster youth support, nurse educator funding and more.

The Governor’s budget would allow the UW system to establish credit markets for operational modeling, which ultimately is designed for helping support universities through difficult periods.

There are some other provisions to allow the UW System to establish a working capital program, readdress Minnesota-Wisconsin reciprocity and allow DACA students to receive in-state tuition.

“Clearly, Gov. Evers wants to invest in the UW system,” Leavitt said. “And that’s something we’re very grateful for.”

To learn more about Gov. Evers’ 2021-23 Biennial Budget, visit

Plans for access and tech campuses

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the relationship between the technical college system and the UW system created a lot of uncertainty to what individual plans are for the access and tech campuses.

“I want to reassure everyone that UW Oshkosh is and remains committed to fully developing our two access campus,” Leavitt said.

The main purpose is still that UWO-Fox Cities campus and UWO-Fond du Lac’s educational attainment rate is raised.

“We’re not interested in speaking of any kind of changes to the arrangements we already had made,” Leavitt said.

Performance evaluations

Performance evaluations are due on March 1. These evaluations include identifying, measuring and developing job related employee performance of UWO staff.

Evaluations must occur for all employees on an annual basis. A performance evaluation form must be completed and submitted to Human Resources after each review.

“We have an awful amount of employees at this university who have obligations at home,” Leavitt said.

These obligations include childcare or parent care, which have increased due to COVID-19.

Leavitt asks that supervisors, as they are evaluating employees at the university, that some level of grace is put into consideration as everyone is under a great level of stress.


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has approved educators for becoming eligible for the vaccine posed March 1.

The DHS website has eligibility standards that state that faculty and staff and higher education settings who have direct contact with students are eligible.

Currently the Culver Family Welcome Center on the UWO campus is open for those 65 years or older to get their vaccines via the website, and educators are anticipated to be added to the site next week.

At that point, people can sign up to receive an email from Aurora to receive a vaccine appointment.

“Our student health care clinic has been working tirelessly to also be licensed as vaccinators,” Chair of the Department of Economics Chad Cotti said.

As of now, UWO is uncertain if their health care clinic will be able to receive doses of the vaccine to distribute from that site as well.

To schedule a vaccination appointment, visit one of the following links:,,,

Marching band coming to UWO

Leavitt made a request to UWO’s strategic enrollment team looking into the possibility of starting a marching band.

“Since the day I stepped on campus, I’ve always wondered where our marching band was,” Leavitt said. “I certainly have great interest in beginning one.”

Marching band is the number one activity asked for by students that UWO does not offer.

“We’re the only institution [of the eight teams in the WIAC] to my knowledge that does not have a marching band,” Leavitt said.

Marching bands will attract students to the campus and will give students a fun opportunity to join an organization on campus.

Students on all three campuses will be eligible for the marching band. Leavitt hopes the marching band will kickstart in fall 2022 after fundraising.