Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill would remove the core philosophy of the “Wisconsin Idea” from the statutory mission statement for the university.
The Center for Media and Democracy flagged the proposed change in language included in the executive budget bill unveiled Tuesday.
UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank on Wednesday tweeted her comment on the change: "The Wisconsin Idea is — and always will be — central to the mission of this university."
In Section 1111 of Walker’s proposed budget legislation, Senate Bill 21, he strikes language specifying that the UW has a public service mission to “extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campus" and to "serve and stimulate society."
Walker adds “to meet the state’s workforce needs" as a core mission of the university.
Walker also 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: "Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth."
The Wisconsin Idea dates back more than a century, about which UW President Charles Van Hise commented he would “never be content until the beneficent influence of the university reaches every family in the state.”
Walker’s proposed revised statute reads:
36.01 (2) The mission of the system is to develop human resources to meet the state’s workforce needs, to discover and disseminate knowledge, to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses and to serve and stimulate society by developing develop in students heightened intellectual, cultural, and humane sensitivities, scientific, professional and technological expertise, and a sense of purpose. Inherent in this broad mission are methods of instruction, research, extended training and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition. Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.