Student calls for transparency

A year and a half ago I wrote in this very space that now ex-Chancellor Kopper had a difficult decision to make publicly. She could either support her students or support her husband, who is of course banned from all campuses. Since that time, the powers that be at UWW have continued to further a culture that lacks transparency and communication. The Janesville Gazette published an article yesterday that shed light on the fact that an open records request to the university five months ago that remained unanswered. Only after UWW was informed by the Gazette that this fact would become public did they comply with the request.

Whether the request was intentionally ignored or the request was treated with a nearly unbelievable lack of urgency, this is a problem. What’s more of a problem is that there is still more we don’t know. We know Chancellor Kopper was placed on FMLA, but we don’t know what she did to collect her salary for the final four weeks of the semester. Here’s what we do know: Chancellor Kopper was paid a chancellor’s salary over the course of the summer to prepare for a class that she never taught in Fall 2019. She was paid for the final four weeks of the semester after her FMLA ran out, with no indication of what she did to earn that salary. The Gazette noted that their request for information regarding this was ignored.

Now, as current Chancellor Watson deals with a budget crisis and focuses on “uncomfortable conversations”, he’s noted that there have been negative news stories about UWW and it’s our job as a community to “shape and shepherd” the university’s message. There’s nothing I want to be more than proud of the school’s name on my degree I’ll be receiving in May. My challenge to Chancellor Watson is to make that so. I’m proud of my hard work. I’m proud of this history department, which I was told upon my arrival is the best in the state and anyone would have a tough time disproving that. But my lasting memory of my two years at UWW is a gross mishandling of a terrible situation regarding systemic sexual harassment. I’d much rather look back fondly on the two year run our football team has had, or the integration of the Rock County Campus to our community, but I haven’t been given that choice.

Perhaps if the actions of the university matched the message of the university, we’d be much more interested in delivering the Warhawk message.

Jordan Stoecklin