As has been noted elsewhere by multiple sources, among the most shocking provisions of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2015-17 Executive Budget is a provision that would strike “the search for truth” and the Wisconsin Idea from the university’s mission.
In addition to unprecedented budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin (UW) system, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker struck “the search for truth” and the Wisconsin Idea from the university’s mission in his executive budget bill unveiled last night.
First summed up by UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904, the Wisconsin Idea means that “the borders of the University are the borders of the state.” Van Hise declared that he would “never be content until the beneficent influence of the university reaches every family in the state” and this has long been the core philosophy of the UW System, which has worked hard over the decades to generate programs that serve people and communities all over the state.
Walker’s executive budget (see below) amends Sec. 1111 of the statutes to remove language specifying that the UW system has a public service mission to “extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campus” and to “serve and stimulate society.” He strikes language ensuring that the mission of the UW is to extend “training and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition,” as well as the language specifying that “the search for truth” is “basic to every purpose of the system.”
Predictably once these provisions of Gov. Walker’s Executive Budget sparked outrage across the state, Gov. Walker’s staff chalked up the language to a “drafting error” and while Gov. Walker again avoided taking any responsibility for language contained within the budget he proposed.
Friend of the blog Graeme Zielinski summed up best how I feel about Gov. Walker’s attempt to sneak drastic changes to the Wisconsin Idea into his Executive Budget.