Republican attack on UW puts Wisconsin Idea at risk

Independents week celebrates locally owned, operated businesses

   And to think we started this year with the goal of reinvigorating The Wisconsin Idea. Now we are afraid it is in danger of being destroyed.

   What began as a now familiar Governor Walker-esque policy atomic bomb has evolved into a baffling game of chicken and serious questions about what the players involved are trying to accomplish. There are clearly limits on how far Republicans lawmakers are allowed to stray from Walker’s budget, and restoring some tax support for the UW is about it. The trade-off, for all involved, is removing tenure and faculty governance language from state statutes, an action that academic leaders here and around the nation convincingly argue would jeopardize the UW Madison’s standing as a world class research institution and with it its ability to attract and retain top-notch talent.

   It’s hard enough to understand why Republicans would risk this state’s economic future even for the Holy Grail of Walker’s presidential aspirations. But what are the Regents thinking? Why are System President Cross and Chancellor Blank seemingly acquiescing to the politics of all this?

   We don’t get it. And we’re worried, very worried, that if Republicans in the state legislature don’t get some wisdom and backbone The Wisconsin Idea and so much more will be destroyed.