[caption id="attachment_140580" align="aligncenter" width="3750"] Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker displays a signed 2015-2017 state budget during a ceremony on the production floor of Valveworks USA in Waukesha, Wis. Sunday, July 12, 2015. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP) 


With the signing of a $73 billion state budget Sunday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker officially killed tenure protections at public colleges and universities.

The changes under the new budget allow the University of Wisconsin system Board of Regents — 16 of whose 18 members are appointed by the governor — to set tenure policies themselves, Politico reported. Previously, tenure protections were spelled out in state law.

Walker said this “modernizes the concept of tenure by authorizing the Board of Regents to enact such policies.”

Walker proposed the change, saying that it gave the schools more "flexibility and financial leverage."

The final rule also includes language that the regents can fire faculty when they deem it "necessary," such as when a program has been discontinued, not just when a financial emergency exists.

Walker, who officially announced his 2016 presidential bid Monday morning, downplayed the controversial tenure talk at the budget signing.

Instead, he emphasized that tuition was being frozen in the University of Wisconsin system for two more years at the rate it was two years ago.

“We made college more affordable for college students and working families all across the state,” Walker said, according to Politico.