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Wisconsin governor vows to kill plan to punish campus disruptors

UW Regents move closer to passing proposal that could expel students after multiple violations

On Friday, a spokesman for Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he would kill a plan moving through the state of Wisconsin Board of Regents that would punish students who frequently disrupted campus speakers.

“He didn’t support it on the Board of Regents and still doesn’t support it,” Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff told The College Fix.

Friday morning, the regents took a procedural vote to authorize the administration to draft a formal rule that could expel students who disrupted campus speakers three times. In October of 2017, the Regents approved a similar “policy” change that must now be backed up with a formal rule.

Prior to being elected governor, Evers voted against the policy change in 2017, calling it “a solution seeking a problem.” As a member of the Board of Regents, Evers argued the university already had existing policies that dealt with this issue and issues of improper behavior.

“Nothing has changed,” said Baldauff.

The authorization Friday passed by a voice vote, but is only the first in a series of votes the regents will undertake before the rule is sent to Evers for approval. The next vote will be to post notice for a public hearing on the rule draft, and the final vote, expected in April, will be to approve the rule and send it to the governor.

The only regent to speak against moving the plan forward was Eau Claire attorney Edmund Manydeeds, who fears the rule will infringe on “our rights to speak freely.”

“This is one of the things that makes us being citizens of this country sometimes difficult,” said Manydeeds. “People may be speaking freely about things we don’t agree with, can’t stand, and would want to retaliate against, but we can’t.”

Manydeeds noted that when the university held a hearing on the “three strikes” proposal, the majority of the speakers were opposed to the plan.

The Regents’ policy closely resembles a bill introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature in the wake of numerous incidents where speakers have been disrupted on campuses around the state. The bill mirrored a proposal first introduced in 2017.

Evers could also veto the bill if it were to pass both the Assembly and Senate.

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About the Author
Senior Reporter
Christian focuses on investigative, enterprise and analysis reporting. He is the author of "1916: The Blog" and has spent time as a political columnist at USA Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and National Review Online. His op-eds have been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, City Journal, Weekly Standard and National Review. He has also been a frequent guest on political television and radio shows. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Marquette University and lives in Madison, Wisconsin.