That an anti-intellectual, corrupt Wisconsin governor would degrade Wisconsin's 167-year-old, massive public research institution is so repellent that this week the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison declared "no confidence" in the University System's Board of Regents.
University of Wisconsin System faculty carry the fight in defense of
public education and the Wisconsin Idea against Scott Walker
and state Republicans
Similar resolutions are expected around the state at other UW System institutions including Milwaukee and Eau Claire, (Schneider, Capital Times).
The Board of Regents is overwhelmingly composed of members vetted for allegiance to Republicans' anti-public education objectives, (Mal Contends).
Most alumni and Wisconsin citizens acclaim the University System. It's part of the Wisconsin culture.
"I applaud the actions of the faculty. The UW System has been built over generations, and to watch a disingenuous and benighted governor and his political party try to tear down our university system hits at the heart of our state," said Jackie Captain, (MA in Art History, (1986)), a native of Wisconsin Rapids.
Walker's project has drawn derision from across the country as well, (Talking Points Memo).
Writes Josh Marshall in a follow-up piece on Walker and higher education last summer:
A big part of what is happening here is that, to people like Walker, Madison is an anchor of Wisconsin liberalism. But not just liberalism in the partisan political sense, also scarier things like empirical thinking and new ideas. And it's not just the humanities. What really comes out in this article is how much of the scythe is aimed at the sciences.Walker hopes, and some UW administrators fear, that open discussion of Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin's efforts to destroy the University of Wisconsin System will hasten its demise, hence the best public relations strategy is to keep what Republicans are doing hush-hush. There is also an attendant fear not to antagonize the vindictive governor.
This is of course a foolish strategy, and UW administrators ought be appealing loudly and publicly to a population that does not share Scott Walker's aversion to letters and science, the arts and public education.
Such a campaign each day could feature an accomplishment of the University of Wisconsin System and daily testimony from alumni pitched aggressively to local daily newspapers and broadcast news always hungry for inexpensive local coverage. Social media is certainly under-utilized.
While behind the scenes the UW-System staff are working and mobilizing supporters to a limited extent, a total and innovative mobilization has not been achieved to this point.
War has been declared on public education by Wisconsin Republicans. It's past time to employ all the resources available against the enemy.