Curtis Dahlgren
March 24, 2006
'On' Wisconsin: university=diversity=perversity=adversity
By Curtis Dahlgren

"FIRE leaders say universities often can't defend in public the policies they adopt in the shadowed, ivory halls of academia." Dave Eberhart (Newsmax magazine, March 2006)

IN OUR CONTINUING SOAP OPERA, "GOWN vs. TOWN," today's episode comes straight from the horse's mouth. The alumni association's "ON WISCONSIN" arrived the other day with a cover story entitled, "The Year of Unfortunate Events," by Michael Penn.

The article's subhead says, "During 2005, UW-Madison endured a string of bad news that frustrated its leaders and strained relations with state legislators. Can the university calm the stormy waters? Or are there more clouds on the horizon?"


"There is no denying that it was a rough year," said Chancellor John Wiley.

"How did the university find itself in such a jam? Was it bad luck, or are there deeper issues to face?" asks the author of the article.

The events of 2005 certainly raised some dumb questions in the minds of Wisconsin taxpayers, such as (1), "How can we be expected to pay $190,000 a year to a VICE chancellor who hadn't even worked in the last nine months?"

(2): "How important was the job if it could be suddenly 'eliminated' by an edict from Chancellor Wiley?"

Or, (3): "How will the former VICE chancellor survive on his $73,000 'fallback job?'"

Without going into all the "vices," one of them was a "relationship" with a graduate student gone bad, and a subsequent "medical leave" by the said administrator to "sort things out," after which he left Wisconsin for greener pastures.

Three other UW faculty members were convicted of felonies between March and August of 2005, one for "sexually assaulting three young girls, another for e-mailing sexually explicit material to a teenage boy, and a third for stalking."

But as the article says, "Because state law prohibits the university from firing an employee solely on the basis of a criminal conviction, all three cases remained wrapped up in university investigations and appeals even months after the professors were sentenced for their crimes."

WINNOWING AND SIFTING THE TRUTH in Madison has become "sorting things out" in the everlasting grey-zone. "On Wisconsin" has become simply, "Wisconsin's getting ON in years." Old hippies never die though; they can even take tenure to jail with them, unlike legislators.

These days, you can kill your five children in a bathtub and get two or three trials. A female teacher can have a "relationship" with a 14-year-old boy and have all charges dropped. But a state legislator can be sentenced to 16 years in prison for a practice that was "common knowledge" on both sides of the aisle? [more later on this]

Meanwhile back on Bascom Hill, concern is expressed about "morale" among the UW employees. One thing that should help is the $700/month "automobile allowance" that chancellors of the UW System receive. Or the guaranteed "back-up positions" that 1,092 employees enjoy in case they "screw up" on their main job.

They think they've dumbed down the schools so much that we won't be able to do the math, but as we stable-boys put it, "That's a lot of horse manure." How in the world does one use up $8,400 a year in "automobile allowance"? I don't make much more than that in a year to live on on Social Security (another subject of much boasting in the current issue of ON WISCONSIN).


To answer the question, a wacked-out Colorado professor was paid to visit the UW-Whitewater campus this year, and the UW-Eau Claire administrators (sieg heil) ruled that a Resident Assistant was verboten from holding Bible study sessions in his room.

But as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education put it, "Universities often can't defend in public the policies they adopt [and which sounded so good at the time] in the shadowy, ivory, halls of academia."

To add insult to insult, the University "Foundation" also sent me a publication this week with a cover headline reading, "Do you want to lower your income tax? Read on to learn how." Personally, I've already lowered my taxes by moving out of Wisconsin, thank you! My brother and wife, plus their son and daughter, all moved out of Wisconsin, too. And the UW administrators can't figure out why their budgets are tight and the tax base in Wisconsin is "flat."

As a partial solution, the University wants to encourage "high-tech" jobs through such things as stem-cell research (the kind that was supposed to get Superman to get up out of his wheel chair and walk). When the legislature passed a bill to ban human cloning in Wisconsin, Governor Vinnie-the-Vito vetoed the bill (so as not to discourage any potential "high-tech companies")!

There is a disconnect between University Avenue and Main Street, and the "cognitive dissonance" isn't all between the ears of us mainstreeters. WE AREN'T THE ONES TRYING TO REDEFINE ALL THE DEFINITIONS.

As the NewsMax article says, "When universities are offended by what students say or do . . the schools often accuse them of 'harassment' a catchword for speech that others find offensive [such as Bible study]. They also sometimes accuse them of 'disruption,' 'intimidation' [etc]."

Thus, this trickle-down insanity continues to down-trickle from the Board of Regents to the Law and education schools to the HIGH schools, and so on, all the way down to the latest wonder-of-the-world, "four-year-old kindergarten."


Yesterday I was driving through a neighboring town and noticed that the town's funeral parlor was right next to the town locker plant. "How convenient," I thought (when "high-tech science" perfects cryogenics, the owners can simply put up a walk-way between the two buildings).

This reminded me of Ted Williams and how the mainstream press is wont to say that our soldiers, sailors, marines, and flyers in Iraq are only there "because they can't get any other jobs." YEAH RIGHT.

Like Ted Williams was flying jets in Korea because he couldn't get a "real" job! James Stewart was flying in WWII because he couldn't get a "real" job. Warren Spahn was fighting from foxhole to foxhole because he couldn't get a "real" job!


I was invited to attend a UW Badger Herald banquet in the fall of 2004. The main speaker was the head of the Mass Communications department of the University and it was two days after Dan Rather's forged documents scandal had become obvious. I couldn't wait to hear what the good professor was going to say about it. Guess what? He didn't even mention it, but I did overhear him complimenting the editor of the paper for a recent anti-Bush edition.

When liberals are caught red-handed, they choose one of two alternatives; either go into silent denial or go into the personal attack mode against the critics. If the Badger Herald were the conservative paper it once was, the good prof probably would have been in attack mode. Instead, his 15-minute "speech" was all sweetness and light.

I'm not a stereotypical "anti-intellectual," but as Albert Einstein once said, "Religion without science is lame, but science without religion is blind."

One of my critics suggested that I was probably asked to leave the UW-Madison. In actuality, I was offered a 4.0 gpa in 70-71 and I turned it down. I only got a "B" in one class, but I had slipped the term paper under the professor's door and a janitor had thrown it away. The professor said he would give me an A if I resubmitted it, but this was before computer files (and I was in business for myself), so I just took the B.

BTW, one of my "A"s was in a phy ed class with phy ed majors and Big 10 athletes (a gynastics and baseball class), so overall I had no regrets about leaving (at age 28). I only regret the degeneration of the University System since the seventies. It's rapidly becoming a school for the intellectually "lame and halt," and for the ethically "blind."


It is very difficult to imagine how the ratios of liberal-to-conservative professors can be so lop-sided, but as I understand it, successful candidates have to take all the "right prerequisites" (such as feminist theory, "post-colonial literature," etc, etc, etc).

No thank you. I wouldn't even WANT a degree from such an institution. The inmates are running it. Sponge Bob Squarepants is the chancellor of the UW-Madison, and I think the Board of Regents are rejects from the Michael Jackson jury.

I've had a very interesting life without a UW diploma. I've been a janitor, a stable boy, a handy man, a tree cutter, a dish washer, and a dairy farmer. I've even castrated pigs, so I understand perfectly what's going on at all those prestigious schools of Higher Education, and it ain't pretty.

It's time for we the people to start squealing.

© Curtis Dahlgren

Comments feature added August 14, 2011

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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in the frozen tundra of Michigan's U.P., and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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