DAILY WISCONSIN

UW System

The Context of UW-Whitewater’s Chancellor Seach

UW-Whitewater now seeks a new, permanent chancellor after the last two presided over a campus with a high number of sexual assaults, administrative concealment of harassment, and multiple published accounts of failure to process complainants’ claims properly under federal law. See, a category at FREEWHITEWATER addressing the circumstances that brought this campus, and this community, to search for a new chancellor.

Mentioning this does not make Whitewater weaker – it is the necessary path to making Whitewater stronger (by being safer). The path to fewer controversies – where controversy means tragedy — runs through a place of candid discussion.

Via A Community Listening Session for a New Chancellor @ FREE WHITEWATER.

Haves, Have Nots

UW-Madison’s strong tenure policy, combined with its relatively healthy financial situation, means faculty layoffs at the flagship campus would be unlikely, Radomski [executive director of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education] said. But at smaller UW campuses where declining enrollment has magnified the impact of state budget cuts, such as UW-Milwaukee, he said administrators could use weaker tenure policies to close programs and fire professors.

“The new uncertainty, and the new concern, is going to be: Are the enrollment and the fiscal problems going to trigger program discontinuation, and therefore trigger faculty layoffs?” Radomski said.

Via UW Regents set for vote on new faculty tenure policies @ madison.com.

Update on Title IX Claims Against UW-Whitewater

[Assault Survivor and Title IX Claimant Raechel Liska] Liska has encouraged at least one other student to come forward and submit supplemental testimony to be attached to Liska’s Title IX claim.

Sarah, a senior at UW-Whitewater who agreed to let The Janesville Gazette use her first name, learned about Liska through the media. In her testimony, Sarah wrote she experienced a similar response as Liska from UW-Whitewater after reporting she was sexually assaulted by another student.

Sarah claims Mackin did not inform her of her Title IX rights and felt as if Mackin “talked down” to her and “never addressed the actual problem that I was having: I was abused by another UW-Whitewater student and I was terrified,” according to the testimony.

UW-Whitewater police talked to the accused, but Sarah still felt the university was minimizing her fears of retaliation from the man, Sarah wrote.

Sarah could not file her own Title IX complaint because the deadline had passed, Held said. Sarah was given the option to add testimony to Liska’s claim and did so to help push for improvement in UW-W’s response to sexual assault victims.

It was “distressing to realize that, after talking to Raechel about her interactions with the school, I wasn’t alone in this treatment. It made me want to change the way the University deals with cases like mine and Raechel’s,” Sarah said in her testimony.

Via Liska crusader for more assault awareness @ Daily Union.

Wisconsin Regents Back Free Speech

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin has become the latest university system to officially affirm the right to free speech and academic freedom for all students amid concerns that academia is trying to protect students from being offended by classroom lectures and discussions.

The system’s Board of Regents voted 16 to 2 on Friday to adopt a resolution stating that the university should not shield people from ideas or opinions they find unwelcome or offensive.

“These are not just pretty words we are going to put in a brass plaque,” said a regent, José Delgado. “You’ve got to be able to listen hard, even if it hurts.”

Civil rights advocates are concerned that universities are trying to limit free speech to protect students from feeling offended. Civil liberties supporters have also raised concerns over the use of “trigger warnings” to alert students about uncomfortable course content. On some campuses, groups have demonstrated against or canceled appearances by contentious speakers.

Via Wisconsin Regents Back Free Speech @ The New York Times.

For Tenure

But why tenure at all? Because innovative research requires risk. While on the tenure track, insufficient research productivity results in the loss of one’s job. Therefore, research on the tenure track is often “safe”: research that is incremental and likely to gain publication.

Once the threat of losing one’s job is reduced — after tenure is earned — researchers can take on riskier projects. A researcher may pursue a novel physics experiment in the hopes of the next breakthrough. Riskier research may fail or benefit society in a big way. Tenure allows the researcher to take the risk of failure while worrying less about job loss.

Tenure also allows for longer-term projects that may not produce publications in the short run but promise to have a transformational impact. In writing “Principia Mathematica” — the book that laid the mathematical foundation for the digital computer — Bertrand Russell experienced a two-year hiatus of publications as he struggled to break conceptual barriers.

Tenure also allows for risky, politically controversial research — isolating that research from the partisan political winds that might otherwise make it impossible to explore topics such as public health, weather patterns, history, psychology, diplomacy and so much more. Tenure allows for the “continual and fearless sifting and winnowing” that is central to the University of Wisconsin System mission.

Via This is why tenure matters @ JSOnline.com Opinion.

Sex assault survivor files federal complaint against UW-Whitewater

Second federal complaint against UW-Whitewater in eighteen months:

Raechel-liska-650-jpg
Raechel Liska, aged 22.  Photo from Channel 3000.

“I got assaulted twice,” Liska said. “Once by my attacker, which was the traumatic, horrific part, but again by the school, which was the betrayal.”

Liska said UWW Dean of Students Mary Beth Mackin violated her civil rights by refusing to interview two witnesses and by not accepting either the police report or her medical records stemming from the incident. She also asserts Mackin did not issue a no-contact order against her alleged attacker, even as he retaliated and intimidated her after she spoke to authorities. Further, it was the Army that stepped in and removed her assailant from her classes three months after the incident in question, even after she’d asked the university to do the same multiple times, only to be rebuffed.

“The reason I filed my complaint is because something here needs to change,” she said. “I thought the dean of students would be protecting the students, protecting me. She’s the dean of students. I thought I’d be her priority, but I walked out feeling like protecting the school was her top priority.”

Via Sex assault survivor claims discrimination by university @ Channel 3000.