"Isn't this symbolic that you got your tenure exactly the same moment when the tenure is almost dead?"
"Well, it is not really dead, just the rules of how you close a department (and lay-off faculty) are changing. Under the current law the university should declare "a financial emergency" to close a program. Under the new law the Chancellor and BoR can just do the same "due to budgetary considerations" without declaring an emergency. This has never happened in the past and unlikely to happen at the UWM, especially in Engineering, which (unlike the Humanities) generates money.
I am still optimistic that the university will be much more permanent in the next 30 years than any other business. We always will have young people who will need post-high school education, and some of them always will be interested in engineering education, because we always will have cars, machines and some technology.
Any industry and business can close, but education and medicine will always stay. If you think about it, it is much more likely that local Milwaukee companies (like Harley-Davidson, ABData, GE Health, Rockwell, Johnson Control, etc. etc) will close in the next 30 years, than that the ME department will close.
So, while I am certainly very concerned about the current attack on the university by republican politicians (backed by the voters of Wisconsin, unfortunately), I do not see it as an immediate threat to my own employment in the next 20 years. And the main guarantees of the tenure are still there: you cannot be fired neither for a conflict with your Dean or colleagues, nor for bad teaching evaluations from students, nor for not bringing grants and money, nor for not publishing papers, nor for not graduating PhDs and MS students. So, while I am certainly concerned, I would not say that "the tenure is dead" for me.
It is still a huge well-deserved accomplishment for me, to some extent like entering a different social class of permanent "nomenclatura", whether the University will remain a state agency (which I would prefer) or it will become a quasi-governmental authority in several years (which some people want)."