UW regents blame lack of financial transparency

Several regents of the University of Wisconsin System say UW officials should have been more transparent about their financial numbers, so lawmakers wouldn’t have felt blindsided by news of a cash surplus.

The Joint Finance Committee recently voted to slash the UW System’s budget. That was partly because an audit showed the system had $650 million in reserves at one point.

The regents met Thursday in Milwaukee. Several said lawmakers might not have reacted so harshly had the UW System been clearer about how much money it had.

Regent Jose Vasquez said officials should have clarified that much of the money is already earmarked, and not just sitting in the bank.

Regent Tim Higgins said the board needs to make sure legislators know the money entrusted to the UW System is being used wisely.