Posts Tagged ‘UW-Madison’

Brunch Links

September 3, 2009

“And then there is Jack Craver, a light-hearted and gregarious fellow who authors the widely read and frequently updated The Sconz.” We will address the context of that quote later today.

Good morning Madison! Today should be beautiful, with a high of 76, but don’t count out long pants – it’s going to get down to 36 at night.

Question of the day: In case you didn’t notice, the Badger Herald is not printing the rest of this week because its registration issue came out yesterday. Should the Herald continue its tradition of starting the year with a reg edition – a huge paper that tries to cover everything that happened over the summer – or should it simply start reporting the news daily at the beginning?

First off, Dane County is rejecting a settlement offer by the family of Brittany Zimmerman, the UW student murdered last year. Is this going to show that Kathleen Falk is a “fiscal conservative” Eric Schmidt?

The new UW code of conduct is going into effect, but I can’t get the Daily Cardinal site up so you’ll just have to believe me. More on that later.

UW is worried about the flu. is looking snazzy! Seriously, check it out. Nevertheless, I think the design is more appropriate for a bank or a software company – not a news site.

Home owners are going to see a tax increase to fund Madison public schools.

One in nine Wisconsin blacks cannot vote due to a felony conviction. The number for whites in one in fifty. The Cap Times is making the case for giving freed felons the right to vote again in Wisconsin.

The State Journal blasts the state for neglecting to investigate a child-care worker who lived in a mansion and drove a Jaguar, all on taxpayer money. I once had a principal who drove a Jag.

Barbara Lawton on the campaign trail: small businesses have been left out of the stimulus.

Sigma Chi faces “reduced sanctions”

August 31, 2009

That’s the headline UW is putting out. Is the emphasis on “reduced” or “sanctions”?

In May, the university’s Committee on Student Organizations levied sanctions on the chapter, 221 Langdon St., that would have kept it alcohol free through most of the 2009-10 academic year, and called for a set of specific educational and philanthropic programs.

However, the chapter successfully appealed one of the charges, arguing that its due process rights were violated.

Upon review by the Offices of the Dean of Students (ODOS) this week, the appeal on the bar incident was granted. As a result, the length of time the chapter will be on probation was reduced to seven weeks, expiring on Oct. 16. During that period the organization may not have alcohol at any chapter events. In addition, it will work with the dean’s office to improve the chapter’s “Derby Days” event in 2010.

Impressive. It’s encouraging that a group of students can use legal terms like “due process” to challenge a university sanction. If anything, the case displays the importance of granting students the right to legal representation in disciplinary cases – a right the board of regents does not seem to hold in high regard. Fraternity misconduct and individual misconduct are obviously two very different beasts – the former involves a group that is part of a cosseted national organization, usually well versed in how to deal with these “unfortunate incidents,” whereas the latter is usually an overwhelmed, stressed person with very little knowledge of his means of defense.

Nevertheless, the decision shows the dean’s office acknowledges how easily even the already-meaningless  university alcohol regulations can be misapplied. It shows that although anyone familiar with the term “fraternity” knows that everybody involved was “guilty,” university officials can still be held accountable for prosecuting the “culprits” properly.

UW gets deal with Google

July 13, 2009

Just in case we don’t have enough books in our library system, the university has reached a deal with Google to provide students millions of books electronically.

The university says readers across the country will be able to preview its books for free and buy access to the full texts online.

In addition, universities, colleges and public libraries will be able to offer access to their students through subscriptions.

Every public and university library will also receive one license to provide free online viewing of millions of books at designated computers.

The new agreement revises a deal struck between UW-Madison and Google in 2006. So far, more than 200,000 works have been digitized.

So, does that mean we’re not going to read all of these books in full – just preview them? Is that drastically different than google books now? I probably don’t understand.

Nevertheless, I will take the opportunity to remind all of us who are still students of the incredible privilege of having access to our library system. Practically every book ever deemed worth reading is at your disposal – for free. It makes buying a book a sin of upmost stupidity, however, it makes remaining illiterate in college an even greater offense.


June 30, 2009

It is somewhat ironic that Kyle Szarzynski is the one to report on CFACT. Kyle is perhaps the only person on campus who gives CFACT a run for its money in the “craziness” department. But to Kyle’s credit, he can generally present his allegations articulately, even when he’s accusing namby-pamby Canadians of being white supremacists.

No organization was a bigger headache during my time at the Herald than CFACT. Day after day we’d receive some letter from a starry-eyed recent convert, lauding the org for teaching them a lot of cool new stuff,  “serving the public,” and best of all, “working for the environment.” The vague slogans and unspecific goals were oddly reminiscent of the Church of  Scientology’s video on “human rights.” Unfortunately, because we were often short on content, we were forced on several occassions to run their propaganda. Who were we to discriminate? When we weren’t printing crack-inspired conspiracy theories by the head of Students for McCain we were running articles in favor of abolishing all drunk-driving laws.

Plus, despite the creepy cult vibes, the org definitely provided some good laughs. The best was when my co-editor Sam Clegg got a hold of a CFACT pamphlet alleging that Earth Day is actually a secret celebration of communism.

Wisconsin’s own Gaylord Nelson was compared to Nikita Khrushchev for deciding to place Earth Day on April 22, which is, coincidentally, Lenin’s birthday. Or as CFACT so eloquently implied in its pamphlet, Nelson consciously did this to insidiously work communism into the environmental discourse.

All that time, however, I had no idea that it was actually a segregated-fee funded organization. That Wisconsin, the home of Joe McCarthy, would be duped once again into funding such tactless liars, is truly unfortunate. Thankfully the Student Services Finance Committee ruled correctly last year by denying the group funding. Unfortunately it only did so because of a couple technicalities. CFACT failed to turn in some papers on time. Boring. SSFC should have gone farther and denounced the group for advancing an ideological agenda, rather than pushing one that “benefits all students,” which is the standard a group must satisfy to receive seg-fee funds.

Now CFACT is getting ready to sue the university unless its funding is restored. It enlisted the help of a few clueless blowhards at the State Capitol as well.

A conservative college group is threatening to sue the University of Wisconsin-Madison, claiming the school wiped out its funding as retaliation against its stance on global warming and other issues.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, was one of nine state legislators to ask the chancellor to reconsider.

“Without CFACT on campus, discussions about environmental and social issues will be completely one-sided,” they wrote in May. “The diversity that CFACT adds to these issues is invaluable to the UW campus and should be maintained.”

“We have a huge problem in society,” he said. “Too many of our universities hate any diversity of viewpoint other than that of the hard left. It’s appalling.”

Appalling that no other environmental group integrates the issue of leninism with earth day. I am simply not smart enough to respond to that one.

Doyle signs budget – highlights for Madison

June 29, 2009

“Unfortunately we must now all make sacrifices due to reckless behavior on Wall St. and in real estate markets.”

Doyle, in a 73 page budget message, outlined the successes and failures of the budget. He commends lawmakers for being the first legislature since 1977 to pass a budget before the beginning of the biennium – meaning that this is the first time in over 30 years that Wisconsin has met its own deadline. The budget covered a variety of hot topics, including domestic partnership benefits for UW employees, sentencing reform in state prisons and a drastic cigarette tax increase.

Highlights for Madison:

Provides group health insurance and retirement survivor benefits to domestic partners of state employees and UW faculty and staff

Provides the faculty and research assistants of UW the right to collectively bargain

$15 million to strengthen the UW System’s ability to retain faculty

$250 million program to revenate the Charter St Heating and Cooling Plant to eliminate use of coal

$20.3 million for financial aid programs for low income Wisconsin residents

$8.2 million to support bio-tech, nanotechnology research at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (UW-Madison)

Other general highlights:

Allows certain inmates to earn positive adjustment time for good behavior

Increases income taxes 1 percent on single inviduals making over $300,000

Increases the cigarette tax from 75 cents per pack to $2.52 per pack

The long term capital gains exemption is lowered from 60% to 30%

Mandates that insurance companies cover autism

Covers dependents up to age 27 in group health policies.

Adds $823 million in transportation funding for highways and local transportation

Creates “regional transit authorities” in the Chippewa Valley, Chequamegon Bay region, Dane County and the Southeast


BADGER TICKETS: Issues arise

June 22, 2009

Like every semi-interested Badger fan, I made to sure to wake up at 8 a.m. today to reserve my season tickets. Ticket sales were supposed to open at 8:30, and the last time UW had a “first come, first serve” policy, I completely missed the news until I saw the headline of the Badger Herald the next day: BADGER TICKETS SELL OUT IMMEDIATELY. And no, I didn’t pay $500 for somebody else’s tickets…because that would be illegal!

Today I was apparently one of the lucky ones. After 20 minutes of “Server busy” I managed to get through and buy tickets. Neither my girlfriend or my roommate could do the same on their computers, so I had to do it for them on the old mac. Does this make sense? My computer would most accurately be described as a piece of shit – it constantly has issues getting internet connection, especially in our apartment. My roomie does not have nearly the same issues but for some reason he couldn’t get through at all.

Apparently there are similar problems for Badger fans, coast to coast. UW athletic office: fuck you, eat shit.

Pay attention Bret Bielema

June 21, 2009

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could be a defining moment in privacy for state employees. The Court will rule on whether emails of teachers are subject to open records requests – whether they are conisdered “public records.”

The matter started in 2007 when a Vesper resident requested e-mail messages to and from the Wisconsin Rapids School District computers of five teachers between March 1 and April 13 of that year.

This case is relevant on the UW campus. At least one of the campus papers has tried in the past to gain access to text messages sent by football coach Bret Bielema in response to rumors of sexual harassment or otherwise inappropriate behavior. Innocent until proven guilty, of course, which was the reasoning used by UW in denying the paper access to full records of Bielema’s communications. As John Lucas, the director of university communications notes in the comments section, UW did offer something, but parts of the records were redacted.

Simply working for a public institution, such as the university or a public school, does not mean that one’s privacy should be completely surrendered. That being said, state email accounts, phones etc. should theoretically only be used for work purposes. Erotic text messages and jokes about the dumbest student should not be on there in the first place.

It will be interesting to see how the court rules. Considering that WEAC is defending the teachers, this could easily be set up as a People vs. The Evil Teacher’s Union. It will be interesting to see who Gableman has more contempt for: open government advocates/newspapers or teachers?