Academe Archives: Assaults on Higher Education in Wisconsin


The AAUP, along with the Wisconsin AFT, has condemned a series of actions taken by Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin state legislature, and the University of Wisconsin system board of regents over the past few years in a concerted attack on the university as a public good.

Regular readers of Academe Blog may be familiar with the recent history of such partisan assaults on the Wisconsin Idea; you can find dozens of blog posts about higher education in the state here. In 2011, legislation curtailed the rights of faculty in the system to negotiate collectively. In 2015, the legislature severely weakened tenure, shared governance, and due process—and, by extension, academic freedom. Attacks underway this fall include the recent approval by the board of regents of an anti-free-speech proposal, a plan to merge the system’s two- and four-year institutions, changes to procedures governing searches for chancellors and presidents, and a bill before the state legislature that would abolish a partnership with Planned Parenthood.

Academe magazine has published a number of articles about threats to higher education in Wisconsin during the past several years. Here is a selection from our archives:

“Angry Badgers” by Mari Jo Buhle and Paul Buhle, July–August 2011

“Learning from Wisconsin” by Jamie Owen Daniel, July–August 2011

“Scott Walker and Higher Education in the Media” by Martin Kich, January–February 2016

“A Day in the Life of a Public University Professor in Wisconsin” by Kelly Wilz, May–June 2016

“Covenant, Contract, and the Politics of the Wisconsin Idea” by David J. Weerts, September–October 2016

“The Downfall of Shared Governance at Wisconsin” by Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn, January–February 2017

Events in Wisconsin matter not only to the state but also to all who value public higher education and want to fight similar assaults elsewhere. Using the form below, you can add your name to a letter calling on the University of Wisconsin system board of regents to cease its attacks and secure the future of education for the common good.

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