Daily Bread for 4.8.22: UW System Postpones Free-Speech Survey

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see scattered rain and snow showers with a high of 36.  Sunrise is 6:23 AM and sunset 7:29 PM for 13h 06m 40s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 43.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1911, Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovers superconductivity.

Devi Shastri reports With interim chancellor quitting in protest and questions about funding, UW System free speech survey postponed:

A University of Wisconsin System survey of students on the highly-politicized topic of free speech on campus has been delayed following weeks of fallout and the resignation of a chancellor.

Tim Shiell, director of UW-Stout’s Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation, sent an email Wednesday to UW System’s interim president, Michael Falbo, to say the survey would be delayed until fall 2022. UW System officials released the email to reporters Thursday.

The postponement would give the research team time to “answer fully and accurately the avalanche of questions arising and lay the groundwork for a successful survey,” Shiell wrote.

In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Shiell elaborated on the decision to delay the survey, saying there were several UW campuses that needed more time to prepare while conducting other planned surveys.

He also said the resignation of Jim Henderson, interim chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, inquiries about where the funding for the survey came from, and the overall debate surrounding it pushed the group to delay. There are many “fair questions” that need to be addressed, he said.

“We want to make sure we have a quality research project and given all the hoopla that’s arisen around this at this point, the research team just felt we couldn’t do the survey now and feel like the results were going to be reliable and credible,” he said.

The research team, with Shiell in the lead, will conduct the survey through the UW System’s Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service.

Perhaps, as Shastri’s headline implies, Henderson’s resignation is primarily a reaction to a speech survey. Under that reading, Henderson resigned because he (and others) had concerns about what they saw as a politicized survey process. Henderson’s brief resignation email to Interim System President Falbo can be read that way.

Henderson’s resignation announcement to the UW-Whitewater campus, and his remarks to Wisconsin Public Radio, are not, however, so narrowly confined. They suggest, and so one can reasonably infer, broader concerns about politicization.

There’s a speech survey, but beyond that single issue, there are likely other relevant and material concerns, the possibility of which deserves greater scrutiny.

Previously: UW-Whitewater’s Chronic Administrative Turmoil and The Explanation(s) for the UW-Whitewater Chancellor’s Resignation.

The Horrors Russia Left Behind:

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