The top two jobs in the University of Wisconsin System are turning over within months of each other next year, a major leadership shake-up that comes on the heels of new chancellors installed during the pandemic at nearly half of the regional campuses and amid a variety of other challenges.
The departures of interim System President Tommy Thompson and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank in 2022, along with new leaders at five of the 12 other campuses, create opportunities but also some sense of uncertainty, experts say. The timing related to the two leaders’ exits will require close coordination.
Other new faces in UW leadership include:
UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank: started March 1, 2020
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander: started May 1, 2020
UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Thomas Gibson: started Jan. 11, 2021
Interim UW-Whitewater Chancellor Jim Henderson: started July 1, 2021
UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo: started July 15, 2021
Whitewater has two new educational leaders: Henderson, the interim chancellor at UW-Whitewater, and Caroline Pate-Hefty, the superintendent (since 7.1.2020) at the Whitewater Unified School District.
Their situations are unalike: Henderson is a veteran academic serving as an interim leader, while Pate-Hefty is leading a school district for the first time.
Wisconsin imprisons Black residents at a higher rate than any other state in the country, a new report found, highlighting long-standing and deep disparities in the state’s criminal justice system.
Thereport, authored by The Sentencing Project and released on Wednesday, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics to calculate states’ rates of imprisoning white residents and people of color.
A “staggering” one of every 36 Black Wisconsin adults is in prison, the report found. Black people comprise 42 percent of the Wisconsin prison population, but just 6 percent of the state’s population.
The analysis also examined the disparity in imprisonment rates between Black and white people. Nationwide, Black Americans are imprisoned at nearly five times the rate of white Americans, the report found, and in Wisconsin, the ratio is even higher: Nearly 12 times the rate.
The report cites pervasive racial bias across the criminal justice system. It notes that Black Americans face disproportionate arrest rates and factors that can lead to longer prison terms — including a greater likelihood of being charged as a habitual offender and more time spent in jail awaiting trial.
A 2020 studyby the Wisconsin Court System found that men of color, particularly Black and Native American men, are significantly more likely to receive prison sentences than their white counterparts — 28 percent and 34 percent more likely, respectively, with white men 21 percent less likely than non-white men to receive a prison sentence.
Saturday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 58. Sunrise is 7:10 AM and sunset 6:09 PM for 10h 58m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 83.7% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1780, the Great Hurricane of 1780 finishes after its sixth day, killing between 20,000 and 24,000 residents of the Lesser Antilles.
In an effort to ban “political” signage from classrooms, the Waukesha School District banned LGBTQ+ messages and symbols from being put up in schools — and the community showed up to fight it.
The ban called for the removal of things like rainbow flags, the phrase “safe space” and other “beyond the curriculum” signage, which many community members said only gave more permission for LGBTQ+ youth to be bullied and remain outsiders in their school environment.
For the second month in a row, Waukesha students and parents filled three rooms, waiting to speak their piece in front of the Waukesha School Board. Over 30 of them got their say over the span of an hour, both praising and criticizing the district’s actions.
Waukesha School Board has banned Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, anti-racist and other ‘controversial’ materials
In August, the board banned Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Thin Blue Line, anti-racist and other posters deemed “controversial” materials from classrooms.
The public comments were not directly addressed by the board Wednesday, as the sign-banning policy was not an item listed on the meeting’s agenda.
In an Oct. 13 letter sent to families and staff following the meeting, district officials said they will have conversations with members of the school district to consider options to make sure everyone feels “safe and welcome.”
Other communities with speech-banning majorities on their school boards will find themselves in a similar position To Waukesha’s students: restrictions on free expression and against safe spaces.
Now, I do not speak for a particular community in Whitewater, the other towns within the Whitewater Unified School District, or any other place on this planet. I am, so to speak, an emissary of one. It is enough to oppose these restrictions on principle. It’s prudent to prepare a defense should this community face similar, restrictive efforts.
At an emotional school board meeting Tuesday night, students, parents, and teachers attested to incidents of discrimination, racism, homophobia, and sexism they’ve experienced, with little or no response from the school board and community.
We’re pleased to inform you that the UW System Board of Regents, at its October meeting, gave final approval for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s new mission statement.
Thanks and appreciation go out to all the folks who collaborated, drafted, provided feedback, and shepherded the statement through the approval process. This is the culmination of years of work from our constituents on campus and in the greater community. Without question, the new mission is a significant step forward for our institution, reflects our current goals and aspirations as an outstanding regional comprehensive university, and it will serve as a guiding compass as we create a new strategic plan for UW-Whitewater in 2022.
Jim Henderson, Ph.D., Interim Chancellor
John Chenoweth, Ph.D., Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
The text of the new mission statement reads as following:
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a preeminent academic institution driven by the pursuit of knowledge, powered by a spirit of innovation, and focused on transforming lives. As part of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Whitewater embraces the Wisconsin Idea and is an economic and cultural driver of our region. We are nationally and internationally recognized for the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Grounded in a rigorous core curriculum, students receive a well-rounded education and every academic program prepares students to be creative, innovative and adaptable in dynamic and diverse work and life environments.
We are an inclusive educational community with a deep commitment to access that inspires us to serve students from diverse backgrounds, experiences, identities, and abilities. We have a longstanding special mission to serve students with disabilities. By supporting all students, we champion education, opportunity and prosperity for all. As engaged global citizens, members of our community make positive contributions to the State of Wisconsin, to our nation, and to the world.
Our academic programs serve undergraduate and graduate students, including online learners, and span the disciplines, from the theoretical to the applied, and encompass study in the arts, business, education, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, technology, and professional and interdisciplinary programs. High-quality programs are offered at the associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. These programs prepare students to become lifelong learners who lead successful lives and enjoy productive careers.
There is a oft-asserted contention that during litigation an institutional defendant should prudently make ‘no comment.’ That’s false, although it’s often what non-lawyers speciously contend lawyers should do. On the contrary, there is a range of replies (in word and deed) that an institution, its spokesmen, and its lawyers can make when faced with serious claims of abusive and unethical behavior.
‘No comment’ is what those who are indolent or indifferent say.
UW-Whitewater’s students and faculty deserve leaders who speak meaningfully and act sincerely in response to claims of individual injury from institutional misconduct.
Siamese cats are walking heatmaps. Their characteristic coloration results from a delightful mutation (maybe I should call it a mew-tation) in tyrosinase, an enzyme that makes melanin. A deleted cytosine amino acid causes a frameshift mutation. The result? Tyrosinase in Siamese cats is particularly sensitive to temperature, denaturing at normal body temperature.
This means that near the cat’s warm body, the enzyme doesn’t function, and melanin isn’t produced. But at colder extremities like the tail, feet, ears, and face, the color kicks in.
Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 69. Sunrise is 7:08 AM and sunset 6:12 PM for 11h 04m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 64.6% of its visible disk illuminated.
On the night of October 14, 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was shot in Milwaukee. Roosevelt was in Wisconsin stumping as the presidential candidate of the new, independent Progressive Party, which had split from the Republican Party earlier that year. Roosevelt already had served two terms as chief executive (1901-1909), but was seeking the office again as the champion of progressive reform. Unbeknownst to Roosevelt, a New York bartender named John Schrank had been stalking him for three weeks through eight states. As Roosevelt left Milwaukee’s Hotel Gilpatrick for a speaking engagement at the Milwaukee Auditorium and stood waving to the gathered crowd, Schrank fired a .38-caliber revolver that he had hidden in his coat.
Roosevelt was hit in the right side of the chest and the bullet lodged in his chest wall. Seeing the blood on his shirt, vest, and coat, his aides pleaded with him to seek medical help, but Roosevelt trivialized the wound and insisted on keeping his commitment. His life was probably saved by the speech, since the contents of his coat pocket — his metal spectacle case and the thick, folded manuscript of his talk — had absorbed much of the force of the bullet. Throughout the evening he made light of the wound, declaring at one point, “It takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose,” but the candidate spen[t] the next week in the hospital and carried the bullet inside him the rest of his life.
Schrank, the would-be assassin, was examined by psychiatrists, who recommended that he be committed to an asylum. A judge concurred and Schrank spent the remainder of his life incarcerated, first at the Northern Hospital for the Insane in Oshkosh, then at Central State Hospital for the criminally insane at the state prison at Waupun. The glass Roosevelt drank from on stage that night was acquired by the Wisconsin Historical Museum. You can read more about the assassination attempt on their Museum Object of Week pages.
One of the challengers running in the Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall election has shared social media posts with Holocaust references in them, which drew condemnation from the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, a program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
Kris Kittell shared his post on his Facebook account: “It didn’t start with gas chambers. It started with one party controlling the media. One party controlling the message. One party deciding what is truth. One party silencing speech and silencing opposition. One party dividing citizens into ‘us’ and ‘them’ and calling on their supporters to harass ‘them.’ It started when good people turned a blind eye and let it happen.”
The post also included the letters “WWG1WGA,” an abbreviation often used by QAnon that stands for “Where we go one, we go all.”
Kittell also shared a post with images from the Holocaust and the words: “Any government with enough power to demand that you carry around papers in order to move around freely is more dangerous than COVID-19.”
Other posts Kittell shared included one with a man with a mask and face shield on reading a book with references to Nazi Germany that said “How could people allow it to get to that point?” and one with a picture of a sign reading “If you’ve ever wondered whether you would have complied during 1930’s Germany, now you know.”
Kittell did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting an interview.
America has led the world for generations in the development of safe and effective vaccines, but an ignorant and fanatical horde presumes to criticize these accomplishments in medicine with false analogies to Nazi Germany.
Indeed, they presume to criticize our nation’s indubitable medical achievements in the very name of education.
Yesterday, the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation published a study finding that
We also estimate how many COVID-19 deaths were among unvaccinated adults and could have been prevented since June 2021 when safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines became widely available to all adults in the U.S. From June through September 2021, approximately 90,000 COVID-19 deaths among adults likely would have been prevented with vaccination.
We are asked to respect anti-vax claims, anti-vax choices, asked to tolerate and accept anti-vax assaults on public health.
No and never.
(See also Cato adjunct scholar, and George Mason law professor, Ilya Somin on why vaccine mandates are consistent with libertarian views. Summarizing: (1) a disease like COVID involves the potential of harm to other people (2) mask mandates, lockdowns, and restrictions on international travel are all much more intrusive than the relatively slight imposition of a safe and effective vaccine (3) there is a strong libertarian case that private institutions, and even the government when acting as employer, can set policies attached to what are voluntary relationships: employees, customers, students, etc. (4) Florida’s recent attempt to ban private businesses such as cruise lines from adopting vaccine requirements has already suffered defeat in court and is one example of an affront to libertarian sensibilities.)
Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with scattered afternoon thundershowers and a high of 69. Sunrise is 7:07 AM and sunset 6:14 PM for 11h 07m 12s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 53.9% of its visible disk illuminated.
Whitewater’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee meets at 5 PM, and Whitewater’s Police and Fire Commission meets at 6:30 PM.
On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress establishes the Continental Navy (predecessor of the United States Navy).
Ghost Robotics and SWORD International have teamed up to create a rifle-toting “robot dog.” Called the Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle, or SPUR, the system adds a 6.5mm Creedmoor rifle from SWORD to one of Ghost Robotics’ quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles, or Q-UGVs.
The SPUR made its debut on the show floor at the Association of the U.S. Army’s main annual convention in Washington, D.C., which opened yesterday. Though Ghost Robotics is partnered with a number of other companies to explore defense and security applications, among others, for its Q-UGVs — which you can read more about in this past War Zone feature — this appears to be the first example of one of these unmanned systems with an actual weapon mounted on it. Unarmed examples of the Q-UGV are notably already in limited use with the U.S. Air Force’s 325th Security Forces Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and are being tested by other units within that service.
The exact configuration of the 6.5mm gun inside the SPUR module — how much ammunition it contains, and how hard it might be to reload — are all unclear. Ghost Robotics has said that SPUR can be instructed remotely to chamber the first round from an unloaded state, as well as clear the chamber and safe the gun.
Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 69. Sunrise is 7:06 AM and sunset 6:16 PM for 11h 10m 01s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 42.1% of its visible disk illuminated.
Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 4:30 PM, and the city’s Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM.
On this day in 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pounds his shoe on a desk at the United Nations to protest a Philippine assertion.
The lawsuit, which is being funded by the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC and argues for class-action status, is seeking an injunction ordering the district to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines.
According to the lawsuit:
The Waukesha School Board on May 12 removed the mask requirement and many other COVID-19 mitigation measures that were in place for most of the 2020-21 school year. Despite that decision, Jensen’s son, a student at Rose Glen Elementary School, and his two younger brothers wore masks to school while many of their classmates did not.
One of Jensen’s oldest son’s classmates came to school with COVID-19 symptoms on Sept.16-17 before being sent home. Jensen’s oldest son was seated next to the sick classmate both days and his sick classmate did not wear a mask. On Sept. 19, Jensen’s oldest son developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Jensen then had all her sons quarantine at home. The younger two boys would later test positive for COVID-19 as well, and all of them missed school and other extracurricular activities as a result.
In a statement provided in the lawsuit, Jensen said she got delayed notifications from the district informing her that children in her oldest son’s class tested positive for the virus and later learned through another parent with a child in her oldest son’s class that four children had tested positive. She also learned the district had no thresholds for when the class would be quarantined and that no contact tracing was being done. Instead the district was “just blanket informing parents when a child in the school had tested positive, usually several days earlier.”
Lawsuits require that plaintiffs, individually or as a class, have been somehow injured (as defined by law).
So there are choices to be made, and ways to lessen the chance of becoming a defendant in lawsuit. The strongest way, for students and for school districts, is to have effective protocols diligently applied. These mitigation efforts may not always work, but they can both reduce illness and protect against a finding of liability.
By contrast, there is also a weak way to prevent injury and protect against liability: to ignore mitigation, to insist falsely that a district has mitigation protocols when it does not, and to insist unconvincingly that the district has no school spread.
People and institutions choose freely, sometimes well, sometimes poorly.
Monday in Whitewater will see afternoon thundershowers with a high of 77. Sunrise is 7:04 AM and sunset 6:17 PM for 11h 12m 51s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 31.3% of its visible disk illuminated.
One Wisconsin school district built a new football field. In Iowa, a high school weight room is getting a renovation. Another in Kentucky is replacing two outdoor tracks — all of this funded by the billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief Congress sent to schools this year.
The money is part of a $123 billion infusion intended to help schools reopen and recover from the pandemic. But with few limits on how the funding can be spent, The Associated Press found that some districts have used large portions to cover athletics projects they couldn’t previously afford.
Critics say it violates the intent of the legislation, which was meant to help students catch up on learning after months of remote schooling. But many schools argue the projects support students’ physical and mental health, one of the objectives allowed by the federal government.
Rep. Bobby Scott, the top Democrat on the U.S. House education committee, said the money shouldn’t be used to fund athletics at the expense of academics. It was meant to help students, he said, not sports programs.
“I suspect you can make a case for anything, but the purpose is clear: It’s to open safely, stay open safely and deal with learning loss,” Scott said. “These are targeted resources needed to address the fact that a lot of children just didn’t achieve much for about a year.”
Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, said every dollar of pandemic relief spent on sports could be used to expand tutoring, reduce class sizes and take other steps to help students who are struggling academically.
When school officials in Whitewater, Wisconsin, learned they would be getting $2 million in pandemic relief this year, they decided to use most of it to cover their current budget, freeing up $1.6 million in local funding to build new synthetic turf fields for football, baseball and softball.
Athletics officials in the district of 1,800 students said the project was sorely needed to replace fields prone to heavy flooding. They touted the federal money as a chance to solve the problem without asking local taxpayers for funding.
“If we don’t do it now with this money, I’m not sure when we would ever do something like this,” athletic director Justin Crandall told the school board in May. “I don’t see us being a district that would go to a referendum for turf fields.”
Two school board members objected, with one raising concerns that just $400,000 was being used to address student learning loss — the minimum to meet a requirement that at least 20% goes toward that purpose.
The board approved the plan over those objections, and the new football field had its grand opening in September. District Superintendent Caroline Pate-Hefty declined to answer questions about the project.
Reporters Foley and Binkley were thorough: they knew that Whitewater spent this money for artificial turf, the amount spent, the date of the meeting authorizing the vote in favor, the margin of the vote, and were able to quote remarks made during that meeting’s discussion. That’s solid work.
This AP story has, by virtue of its subject and the reach of the AP, become a national story (e.g., Washington Post, Raleigh News & Observer,Miami Herald.) Photos of Whitewater’s new artificial turf field accompanied the story, and on the AP’s Twitter feed:
(AP photographer Morry Gash took photographs of Whitewater’s new field. He’s a fine sports photographer, and they knew they had a good story. Our field appears in the photos that accompanied the story in print and online, 1 and 2.)
An AP investigation found that some schools have been using federal COVID relief money on sports. Critics say that money should be going toward academics, helping children get back on track after experiencing setbacks during the pandemic. Associated Press education reporter Collin Binkley covered this story. He joined American Voices with Alicia Menendez to discuss.
Tuesday, October 12th at 1 PM, there will be a showing of In the Heights @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:
2 hours, 23 minutes
Rated PG-13 (2021)
A film version of the hit Broadway musical, with music and lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (‘Hamilton”). It’s “West Side Story” with a happy, musical beat. A young, upbeat NYC bodega owner (Anthony Ramos) scrapes and saves to better his neighborhood (Washington Heights) and himself. This musical will have you singing and definitely will give you a sunny disposition! Also stars Jimmy Smits, Leslie Grace, and Marc Anthony.
Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with showers and a high of 78. Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 6:19 PM for 11h 15m 41s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 21.8% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1973, U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns after being charged with evasion of federal income tax. For a detailed account of Agnew’s crime, see Rachel Maddow’s podcast The Bag Man. (She also has a book on the topic, and a film is in the works.)
Attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with fatally shooting two people during a protest in Wisconsin last year, argued that hunting laws allowed him to carry the assault-style weapon used during the shootings.
Wisconsin law prohibits anyone under age 18 from being armed, but Rittenhouse’s attorneys argued that state laws only forbid minors to carry short-barreled rifles and shotguns. The other prohibitions pertaining to children fall under hunting laws, which say children under age 12 can’t hunt with guns, Rittenhouse’s attorneys said at a hearing Tuesday.
Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was 17 on Aug. 25, 2020, when he fatally shot two men and wounded another man while carrying an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle at a protest prompted by a police shooting of a Black man, prosecutors have said.
Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger responded that if the defense wants to tell a jury that Rittenhouse was only hunting, it should do so.
“They can submit evidence that the defendant had a certificate to hunt and he was engaged in legal hunting on the streets of Kenosha that night,” Binger said, according to the newspaper.
Rittenhouse’s attorneys are looking for dismissal of a weapons charge, and so they’re advancing whatever arguments they can. They’re trying to find exceptions in state statutes, and presenting in-court arguments to a trial judge. The case, however, is high-profile, and reporters across the nation are covering all the proceedings. Every single word spoken in court can become a national story.
Sometimes advancing any arguments one can causes more harm than good.
I’ll write tomorrow about a local decision of the Whitewater School District that, similarly, has attracted adverse national coverage.
LEONARDO, short for LEgs ONboARD drOne (if that’s too much of a mouthful, it also goes by LEO), is a bipedal robot that can skateboard, hop, walk a tightrope and fly.
The 2.5-foot-tall robot was developed at Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies and is the first to use multi-joint legs and propeller-based thrusters to control its balance, according to a release from Caltech.
Soon-Jo Chung, corresponding author and Bren Professor of Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems, said the team drew inspiration from nature when designing the robot.
“Think about the way birds are able to flap and hop to navigate telephone lines,” Chung said in the Caltech release. “A complex yet intriguing behavior happens as birds move between walking and flying. We wanted to understand and learn from that.”
Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 70. Sunrise is 7:02 AM and sunset 6:21 PM for 11h 18m 32s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 12.8% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1936, Boulder Dam (later Hoover Dam) begins to generate electricity and transmit it to Los Angeles.
Photograph of the Hoover Dam (formerly Boulder Dam) from Across the Colorado River; From the series Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941 – 1942, documenting the period ca. 1933 – 1942.
Gableman insisted Friday in a radio interview he was still subpoenaing officials from Wisconsin’s five largest cities to testify a day after his aide told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was putting off the interviews for now.
His comments came less than four hours before another aide made clear in an email to a Madison official that an interview was canceled and a Green Bay official said the city clerk was no longer being asked by Gableman to testify.
Gableman’s subpoenas to mayors and election officials are seeking all election records they possess, which would constitute hundreds of thousands if not millions of pages and demanded testimony from the clerks and mayors on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.
Friday in Whitewater will see scattered showers with a high of 72. Sunrise is 7:01 AM and sunset 6:22 PM for 11h 21m 22s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 5.6% of its visible disk illuminated.
Peshtigo, Wisconsin was devastated by a fire which took 1,200 lives. The fire caused over $2 million in damages and destroyed 1.25 million acres of forest. This was the greatest human loss due to fire in the history of the United States. The Peshtigo Fire was overshadowed by the Great Chicago fire which occurred on the same day, killing 250 people and lasting three days. While the Chicago fire is said to have started by a cow kicking over a lantern, it is uncertain how the Peshtigo fire began.
A former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student who said she was sexually harassed by the former chancellor’s husband has filed a lawsuit against the university system alleging UW-Whitewater violated her right to due process and protection from discrimination.
The complaint and reporting speak plainly and powerfully for themselves, and so I will make no particular remarks today. Commentary follows, rather than precedes, events. There will be time enough to watch and comment on litigation over the misconduct enumerated in Ms. Vander Pas’s lawsuit.
A reminder, however, for any who should need one: reader comments at this site are carefully moderated. There will be no trolls or goblins who make their way through.