Letter to the Editor: Politicians don’t belong in UW-System

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Feb. 23, 2016

The response by Sen. Steve Nass to Chancellor Beverly Kopper’s message to the campus community is a perfect example of why politicians need to stay far away from the inner workings of the UW-System.

The chancellor, along with the rest of us employees, has a duty to keep the campus community as safe as possible within the limits of our positions. Although the photo in question was a misunderstanding, and the students have apologized, the chancellor’s response was appropriate given the larger issues on campus.

However, as this is a learning institution, this certainly provides us with an opportunity to understand why some people may have found the photo offensive.

A quick Internet search about blackface could suffice, but it has become obvious that we are failing in teaching our children the history of our country. As someone who has been trained in theatre, a lover of film and history, and was introduced to Al Jolson at an early age, it was easy for me to find a possible problem with the photo. But no matter who you are and what background you may have, there is no better time to talk about such topics than the present.

Start conversations, listen to people’s stories and perspectives, and begin the process to change our campus community for the better.

Tenure is another topic in which politicians have made their voices heard. Although there are changes which could be made to tenure to help satisfy all sides, tenure is possibly the only safeguard for professors. Tenure allows professors to do their jobs without needing to worry about the changes in the political arena. Protections for professors must be set so that they can create an atmosphere which allows students to become critical thinkers.

Could you imagine if politicians like Steve Nass were allowed to dictate what could be taught at UW-W and how it could be taught?

If I had to venture a guess, I would say the educational model would be rather monochromatic.

There was a time several years ago when some professors were talking about unionizing. Although our state has made it much harder for people to unionize, I see this as only a temporary obstacle.

With each new policy and law passed in this state, it is becoming increasingly clear that protecting workers’ rights is connected to protecting everyone’s rights.

It started with attacking public unions, then private unions, then the educational system and professors, and just recently immigration.

When will it stop?

When we all decide to work together and fight for all our rights. If you stay silent and do nothing, then you are as guilty as those who do the offense.

But here is the bright side to all of this: we can start right now.

Jeff Ehren

Custodian, UW-W

Print Friendly, PDF & Email