MADISON, Wis. — The story of how Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget came to include a provision gutting the “Wisconsin Idea” by removing language from the University of Wisconsin System mission on the search for truth and a commitment to expanding learning beyond the boundaries of the college campuses continues to change the day after it was revealed.
While Gov. Walker attempts to explain away either an intentional attack on the fundamental mission of the UW System or an embarrassing gaffe borne of incompetence or the distractions of running for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he is standing by egregious cuts that will hurt current and prospective UW students and explode student loan debt.
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross:
“Gov. Walker’s explanations of how his budget came to include language gutting the Wisconsin Idea — removing from the University of Wisconsin’s mission statement the search for truth and a commitment to expanding learning beyond the boundaries of the college campuses — range from the ridiculous to the laughable.
“Today he has asked us to believe neither he nor anyone in the Governor’s office signs off on how the provisions he has asked to be included in the budget bill are drafted. Instead this alleged error was the work of a lone, rogue staff person in the state budget office.
“Gov. Walker even attacked former Governor Jim Doyle, who left office after 2010, in a rambling 500-word statement attempting to explain away what is at best an embarrassing gaffe.
“What is no joke is that Gov. Walker is standing by budget provisions making the biggest cuts to the University of Wisconsin System ever and allowing unlimited tuition increases after 2016.
“Gov. Walker’s budget plans mean fewer Wisconsin students will be able to attend the UW school of their choice, it will take longer for students to graduate and more students will be forced to borrow more. For that there is no good explanation.”