University of Wisconsin

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling from October allows voters in Wisconsin to cast their ballots without providing a photo identification – but the University of Wisconsin still uses voter registration as one form of residency verification for in-state tuition.

It’s an irony not lost on one reader of The College Fix, a father who asked  us why the University of Wisconsin requires prospective students to answer where and when the last time their parents voted on its application.

“My son is filling out applications for college, and has been accepted to a couple already,” noted the father, whose name has been withheld as to not affect his son’s future college career.

“He’s filling out additional applications to see what might be most affordable. Now, one of these is University of Wisconsin. On one of the pages, they ask if both guardians vote or are registered to vote, and when the last time they voted was. I’ve never see this on any other application. What the heck would that have to do with anything? Financial info, I can understand, but voting?”

The undergraduate application questions about voting can be found on the top of page five of the application, where it clearly asks where and when the last time the applicant’s guardians voted or registered to vote. The application notes: “This section must be completed by ALL applicants (including dates).”

The College Fix reached out to the University of Wisconsin, and asked why questions about voter registration appear on the undergraduate application. After several business days, the Office of Admissions at UW-Madison responded with the following statement.

The questions you are referring to—“Parent/Guardian – Voting: Where did he/she last vote or register to vote?” and “When did he/she last vote or register to vote?”—are in the residency for tuition determination section of the application to help determine WI residency for tuition purposes. This section is a part of the UW System Application used for all UW institutions.

This is allowed under Wisconsin Statute 36.27(2) (e), relating to exemption from nonresident tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In response to the university’s argument, the father scoffed:

“A voting record is not proof of residency. And given the amount of energy expended in that state by people insisting that you shouldn’t have to show ID to vote, I find it a very strange question to ask.”

Wisconsin currently does not require photo identification in elections after the United States Supreme Court issued an order last October blocking photo ID voting laws in Wisconsin. So there is no guarantee that voter registration in Wisconsin is concrete proof of residency.

The concerned father said his child had filled out applications to 10 other schools, and none of the forms asked for voter registration information.

However, it is not unheard of for some schools to request the information.

Examples of these are the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of Hawai’i Manoa, and the University of Utah. Unlike Wisconsin, these schools do not require it initially, but instead reserve the right to ask for it later, or say it may be one way of many to help prove residency.

College Fix reporter David Hookstead is a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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IMAGE: Photo Grrrr/Flickr

Count by The College Fix finds roughly three times as many anti-Walker pieces than pro-Walker pieces in Wisconsin student newspaper’s opinion section in recent weeks.

MADISON, Wis. – Over the last month and a half, the opinion pages of the student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been crowded with arguments against Gov. Scott Walker, suggesting – among other things – that his platform will decimate higher education, ruin the environment and hurt the economy.

The launch of the second semester here in late January coincided with Gov. Walker’s prominent thrust into the national spotlight, with his higher education reforms and presidential prospects prompting a storm of criticism within the Badger Herald’s pages.

Since late January, the campus newspaper has published 20 anti-Scott Walker opinion pieces and letters to the editor, according to a review of the Badger Herald’s online opinion section by The College Fix. Two more pieces didn’t bash Walker directly, but cast him in a negative light.

In contrast, the newspaper has only published six pro-Walker pieces in that time. In effect, published anti-Walker opinion pieces outnumber pro-Walker ones by a ratio of about 3 to 1.

What’s more, nearly all of the pro-Walker pieces are simply part of a weekly point-counterpoint feature between the College Republicans and College Democrats. But there are apparently no regular columnists who espouse support for Walker in the Badger Herald’s pages.BHinside

In the last seven or so weeks, Walker has been accused of all manner of bad choices and political grandstanding within the campus newspaper’s opinion pages.

Take Right to Work: College Democrat press secretary August McGinnity-Wake claims that after Governor Walker “decimated” the budget that he has now “unabashedly announced he would sign right-to-work legislation today” – policy McGinnity-Wake claims will hurt workers.

In an op-ed titled, “Candidate Walker is not concerned about higher education in Wisconsin,” author Luke Shaetzel starts by apologizing for voting for Scott Walker even though Gov. Walker froze tuition for students. Shaetzel then accuses Walker of focusing on being president and not governor.

“But when, candidate Walker decided to create a budget slashing state funding to the UW System, it became clear that the state of Wisconsin is just a pawn in his political game,” he stated. “Walker’s 2015-17 biennial budget plan has nothing to do with the continual growth of this state, but has everything to do with the continual growth of candidate Walker’s political future.”

In a letter to the editor, Eleni Schimer and Michael Billeaux, co-presidents of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, declare: “Teaching Assistants’ Association: Walker’s budget would hit graduate students especially hard.”

In “Blind conservatism is moving Wisconsin in the wrong direction,” writer Omer Arain continues the popular trend of accusing Scott Walker of being more focused on running for president than focusing on Wisconsin.

“My frustration with Walker is rooted in how his policies are designed exclusively to appeal to the far right, without considering the state of Wisconsin’s best interests,” he wrote. “We are in the midst of watching the governor choose partisan appeal over his state’s welfare.”

Another letter to the editor claims “College Republicans put politics before productive debate in response to nasty emails.” In it, Mike Brown accused College Republicans of playing politics when they sent out a blast e-mail supporting Governor Walker, and then published some of the horrific responses. (The College Fix featured a story on the situation.)

While Brown says he doesn’t excuse the horrific language displayed by liberals on college campuses, he does accuse the College Republicans being condescending.

An opinion piece titled “Wisconsin State Parks are in peril due to Walker’s budget cuts” by Alex Derr warns that Walker’s budget “may kill jobs and harm the still slow job market. It will harm our parks with additional cuts. And it sends the message that parks exist for our pleasure and no other purpose.”

And another writer suggests Walker is “pushing” stances that may very well “speed up global warming.”

Another of Derr’s pieces, titled “Walker’s budget will hurt more than just students,” claims that “while the cuts deserve our attention, it is overshadowing some of the even darker aspects of Walker’s budget which hurt some of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable: the elderly, the poor and the environment.” He is also critical of Walker’s plan requiring drug testing for welfare receipts and his tax cuts that he thinks would hurt the elderly and poor.

Another op-ed takes on Walker’s desire to balance the budget by declaring “balancing a budget during economically sound fiscal years is one thing, but cutting social services during financial catastrophes is nothing but unethical.”

The Badger Herald stated on its “about” page that they maintain a maverick spirit. Reached for comment about the apparent bias against Walker in its opinion pages, editor Tara Golshan acknowledged the issue in an email to The College Fix.

“This is something we are aware of and have been making a concerted effort to address,” she said. “I assure you that our opinion section is an equal opportunity platform for all manner of opinions – as long as the arguments are well constructed, timely, factually accurate and relevant to our readership.”

“In the past academic year we have worked to reach out to conservative voices on campus,” she added. “We now have a regular column from College Republicans separate from the typical point/counterpoint with College Democrats. The Herald will continue to make these efforts. It is our goal and intention to offer a range of opinions on our page.”

List of anti-Walker pieces since late January:

1. Walker’s success is contingent on legislative majorities

2. Against Right-to-work

3. Candidate Walker is not concerned about higher education in Wisconsin

4. Proposal for public authority lacks transparency, adequate deliberation

5. Blind conservatism is moving Wisconsin in the wrong direction

6. Wisconsin State Parks are in peril due to Walker’s budget cuts

7. Public authority will result in loss of shared governance, essential program cuts

8. While Republicans become divided over budget issues, shared governance remains threatened

9. Better teachers, not vouchers, will help Wisconsin students

10. Balanced budgets may lead to social consequences, deeper recessions

11. Walker must accept Menominee deal to save face in budget controversy (Mostly neutral, but with negative slant toward Walker)

12. Walker’s budget will hurt more than just students

13. Walker’s budget – College Democrats

14. Enbridge pipeline could destroy Wisconsin’s environment, speed up global warming

15. Wisconsin Idea change is more than ‘drafting error’ (Mostly neutral, but with negative slant toward Walker)

16. UW split may cause higher tuition and diminish student voice

17. State of the State vs. State of the Union – (by College Democrats)

18. Letter: Teaching Assistants’ Association: Walker’s budget would hit graduate students especially hard

19. Letter: College Republicans put politics before productive debate in response to nasty emails

20. Letter: City must stand against budget cuts, public authority status

21. Letter: Concern over budget cuts is based on facts, not rhetoric

22. Letter: Proposed budget cuts provide UW chance to reconnect [against Walker]

List of pro-Walker pieces since late January:

1. Letter to the Editor: Long-term flexibility for UW System will alleviate cuts

2. State of the State vs. State of the Union (by College Republicans)

3. Washington could learn from Wis. education reforms (by College Republicans)

4. Walker’s Budget (by College Republicans)

5. Campus should address budget with healthy debate (by College Republicans)

6. Right-to-work debate (by College Republicans)

College Fix reporter David Hookstead is a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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In guest lecture, professor claims America should have heeded Anita Hill; talk also chastises Bill Cosby, suggests many black targets of police shootings result of racism

Rutgers University assistant professor Brittney Cooper on Tuesday gave a guest lecture at the University of Wisconsin titled “The End of Respectability: Black Feminism and Ratchet Politics” during which she said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has actively hurt civil rights in America.

Saying more than 90 percent of black people supported Justice Thomas when Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment in the 1980s, Cooper opined that was a big mistake.

“There’s a cautionary tale there, that if you don’t listen to the women, none of us do well,” Cooper told the audience. “Real talk. He has been the deciding vote to roll back every piece of civil rights legislation that we have had. There are material costs to our investment in patriarch.”

It was one of many points the Africana and women and gender studies professor at Rutgers told the audience during her one-hour talk to a room full of 75 students and scholars in Madison.

The talk came as the Madison community is still reeling from the police officer shooting-death of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black teenager, over the weekend. The incident has since prompted protests and chants of “no justice, no peace” on campus and City Hall as residents voice frustration.

With that, the room had a sense of sadness in the air while Cooper talked of race relations. Cooper said to the audience that “racism is completely unreasonable in its magnitude, in its severity, in its intensity, in its persistence. It’s unreasonable to kill Tony Robinson.”

Applaud broke out from the crowd as Professor Cooper seemed to make the claim that Robinson was killed due to racism, and not because he allegedly violently assaulted a police officer.

She also said it was unreasonable for the Atlanta police to kill a black man on Tuesday afternoon, and once again drew the conclusion the shooting was race-related, even though the investigation was literally hours old at the time.

“The other thing that’s problematic about the politics of respectability is that it absolves the state of any overt responsibility [to eliminate] racism,” Cooper said.

The structure of the black family was also something Professor Cooper touched on. She talked about shows like “The Cosby Show,” saying they were an example of how – if people did the right things in life, such as got married, had kids, and worked hard – they could be successful.

However, Professor Cooper suggest this wasn’t how society actually works. She cited Beyoncé as an example, arguing the music icon “got married, had a kid, grew up in a two parent home, and people are still telling her she’s wrong.”

The scholar also took this opportunity to discuss the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby saying, “Cosby disrespects the legacy of all the black males lynched because of false accusations from white women.”

She was also critical of Cosby’s infamous comments about the shortfalls within some black communities, and claimed: “Bill Cosby has gone around the country lecturing to poor black people about our failure to uphold our end of the bargain. The idea that being respectable citizens with good families would pave the path to freedom has proved to be simply untrue. Since ‘The Cosby Show’ came on the air in 1984 and 2007 we have watched the wealth gap grow, so black people have lost wealth in that time period.”

The stereotyping of clothing worn by black males was also briefly discussed. She claimed that graduation gowns worn don’t stop bullets like they didn’t for Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Professor Cooper is scheduled to give another speech on the campus of UW-Madison soon to discuss “Making Black Lives Matter in the 21st Century.” The talks are sponsored by the Havens Center and the UW Gender and Women’s Studies Program.

College Fix reporter David Hookstead is a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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Alleged ‘campus rape epidemic’ sparks fiery debate over allowing guns on campuses

An alleged “campus rape epidemic” facing colleges today is having an unforeseen side effect – it’s bolstering efforts to allow students to carry guns on campuses.

The oft-cited yet unsubstantiated stat that one in five college women will be sexually assaulted or raped has turned into a battle cry of sorts among those who declare these women should have the means to defend themselves with a firearm.

“Lawmakers in 10 states who are pushing bills that would permit the carrying of firearms on campus are hoping that the national spotlight on sexual assault will help them win passage of their measures,” The New York Times reported recently.

A sponsor of a bill in Nevada, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, told the Times: “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their heads.”

One of the most talked about cases in recent years involves Amanda Collins, a concealed permit holder, who in 2007 was raped in a University of Nevada-Reno parking lot less than 300 yards away from the campus police department.

Per school rules, she was not allowed to have her firearm on her that horrific night, and has since traveled the country testifying about how her firearm could have stopped her rapist.

Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley told The New York Times “if you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible.”

Not everybody agrees.

Yale University student Alexandra Brodsky, editor at Feminsting and The Feminist Utopia Project, believes guns on college campuses will only arm rapists.

“We’re talking about why shouldn’t a woman be able to carry a gun to protect herself. But if you’re going to give her a gun, you also have to give rapists a gun, and I think that we can all realize that’s a really bad idea,” Brodsky said.

And writing in Reason, staff editor Robby Soave notes that while he supports concealed carry on campus, “I’m not remotely persuaded that more guns would mean less rape, for the simple reason that the kinds of rape most prevalent at colleges are unlikely to be prevented by guns.”

“Sexual assault occurs at parties, under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” Soave stated. “Students often aren’t aware they are being raped until the next morning—or long after the incident has passed. Campus rapists don’t generally ambush victims in the park, or break into their homes. Instead, they incapacitate their victims and rely on hazy memories to acquit them.”

As the debate rages, it remains a controversial subject on campus. In Baxley’s home state, for example, College Democrats protested his efforts to allow guns on campus.

But there are plenty of students who agree guns on campus should be allowed – for a variety of reasons. pinkgun

Timm Smith, a political science senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he was critical of his school’s policy, which bans guns from being brought into buildings.

“We as students constantly receive emails and text alerts warning us about violent crimes, sexual assaults, and break ins on and near campus, but the school does not enable us law abiding students to properly secure our persons at all times,” he told The College Fix.

Tayler Studinski, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, also voiced support for guns on campuses.

“Guns, while often portrayed through the media as being deadly and homicidal, can also save lives in situations involving robbery, assault, and rape on college campuses,” she told The Fix.

“Every individual has something powerful to contribute to the world, and without the fundamental right of protection, their potential and societal contributions could be jeopardized in something as tragic as being in a setting at the wrong time,” she added. “The solution is quite simple: the acquisition of a permit and the right to carry a concealed weapon on a college campus.”

Natalie Baumann, a senior at Edgewood University, agreed.

“With all the school shootings that have happened you can’t deny the fact that a lot of them could have been minimized (in terms of lives lost) if someone else had a gun to take care of the shooter,” she said.

Currently in 41 states it is illegal to possess a gun on a college campus, but in seven states it is legal in some fashion. For example, in Utah, a student can carry a concealed weapon in the classroom, but in Wisconsin they may carry it on school grounds, but not in buildings.

The College Fix reached out to the University of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Police Department for a statement on their policy of banning guns in school buildings, asking whether they believe it will actually prevent a school shooting. Both offices refused to comment.

But the sight of more guns on college campuses may soon become a reality with at least 10 more states considering bills to remove or loosen bans on firearms on campus, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Virginia and Illinois currently do not allow guns on any of their college campuses, and both have had horrific school shootings in their gun-free zone universities.

On April 16, 2007, a crazed gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, and on Feb. 14, 2008, a gunman killed six people and wounded 21 more in the gun-free zone of Northern Illinois University.

Lawmakers across the country are trying to make sure colleges are no longer gun-free zones for shooters to cause massacres.

Said Texas State Rep. Allen Fletcher: “Law enforcement can’t be everywhere and these gun-free zones are some of the most dangerous places in America and Texas.”

However, even in the gun friendly state of Texas, education administrators are split on the policy.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp has said he feels weapons on campus pose no security risk, but University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven has raised concerns about allowing students to carry gun.

“The real question,” Sharp wrote, “is this: Do I trust my students, faculty and staff to work and live responsibly under the same laws at the university as they do at home? Of course I do!”

College Fix reporter David Hookstead is a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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IMAGES: YouTube screenshot

UPDATED: 3/5/15

A “Confronting Campus Rape” discussion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Monday night delved into the rights of the accused versus the rights of the accuser, a panel discussion during which participants suggested campus rape victims are largely mistreated and dismissed.

Some in the audience even suggested that the accused should not be innocent until proven guilty, and the emotionally charged talk included suggestions by UW-Madison professor Anne McClintock that “men on campus … are at greater risk of being assaulted on campus than they are of being falsely accused of a rape” and that “this university does expel students for plagiarism, but not for rape.”

A UW-Madison student on the panel who described herself as a rape survivor said she had, however, successfully gotten the first male student ever expelled from UW-Madison for rape.

Monday’s “Confronting Campus Rape” panel aimed to tackle the controversial topic of sexual assault on campus and “reframe the debate, discussing university culture and policy, pedagogy, and student experience through the lens of feminist philosophy, legal theory, and studies of sexuality and power,” according to the event’s official description.

McClintock is an English and women’s and gender studies professor at the university who has given many keynote lectures on the intersections of sexuality, race, gender, nationalism and imperialism, according to her online faculty profile. Additional panelists included philosophy professor Claudia Card and law professor Cecelia Klingele.

Listen to some of McClintock’s comments:

During the discussion, the rights of the accused were often called into question. All the panel members initially stated that people accused of crimes should have some rights, but that message quickly lost ground as the event unfolded.

The student who said she was raped described herself as “horrified” to discover that her accused rapist was given rights of due process from the university. She also claimed that a UW-Madison dean informed her that the system is set up to protect the rights of the accused, but declined to name the administrator who made these comments.

The rights the student said she was troubled to learn of can be found in Chapter 17 of the UW-Madison Student Nonacademic Misconduct Policy. They include the right to a hearing and the right to have a written summary of allegations from the accuser.

The student said she does not support these rights and added: “This policy needs to be rewritten by the students, for the students to heal what is broken in order to seek full accountability.”

The fact that she was required to write a statement of accusations toward her alleged rapist, but he was not required to speak in his defense, was another problem the student said she had with UW-Madison’s policies.

“This put me at an obvious disadvantage,” she said.

In criminal court and university statutes, individuals accused of a crime have the right to remain silent. The student panelist and others in the crowd voiced concern over this idea.

The student also said she felt it was unfair that there is an appeals process for the accused. She told the packed room that “the accused has the right to appeal the misconduct decision, but the complainant has no right to appeal.”

Toward the end of the event, the audience asked questions.

A woman who identified herself as a teaching assistant stood up and said she did not feel that the notion of innocent until proven guilty should apply to rape cases because it only helps protect the rights of the accused instead of the victim.

Only one of the panel members spoke out in disagreement with this statement. Klingele, the law professor, said that because she was a legal scholar, she had to disagree with this premise.

Editor’s Note: After this article was published, Professor Anne McClintock contacted The College Fix to express her concern at what she believes are inaccuracies in the article, as well as to give her arguments more context. 
 

McClintock pointed out that her arguments are substantiated by the fact that the UW-Madison has now been brought under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education for possible Title IX violations for their mishandling of sexual assault complaints. McClintock stated that UW’s Misconduct Code Ch. 17 does not give the complainant the same rights that it gives the accused, and that the UW is now working to revise the code to bring it into compliance with federal law. 

College Fix reporter David Hookstead is a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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IMAGE: JessLoughborough/Flickr

Last week The College Fix wrote about a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor who offered extra credit to her freshman English students for attending a rally against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin System.

One of Beth Lueck’s students told The Fix by email she wants to “clear a few things up” about Lueck’s portrayal and is “sick of her professor getting smeared for no reason.”

Freshman English student Jessica Hallam said Lueck’s extra-credit opportunity was relevant to students in her class because it “WILL [a]ffect them in the future.”

Costs will go up for students, in the form of tuition or fee hikes for certain services or classes that get axed, and some will have to stop attending the school if the budget cuts go through, Hallam said. She added that she wouldn’t have been aware of the proposed cuts without Lueck’s notice.

“The ONLY reason anyone even cares is because of the fact that she ran for office,” Hallam said. Lueck unsuccessfully challenged two Republican incumbents for the state house as a Democrat in 2014 and write-in candidate in 2012.

Hallam said Lueck offers “all kind[s] of extra credit assignments from rallies to lectures and talks,” including two “just the other day” for lectures to attend and summarize. One of those was related to women’s studies, Hallam said.

“All she wants is for her students to get involved,” and Lueck would “most likely” give credit to a student who asked to attend and summarize a Republican rally, Hallam said. “She has NEVER let politics get into her class.

“I Firmly believe politics was the last thing on her mind when she decided to give extra credit to go to the rally,” Hallam said. Lueck “has a heart of gold and wants nothing more than to see her students succeed.”

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IMAGE: Beth L. Lueck for Wisconsin State Assembly, District 23/Facebook