UW admins under fire for porn star appearance, misuse of funds
At least three administrators in the University of Wisconsin system are facing backlash over allegations including misuse of institutional funds. Faculty are pressuring two of those administrators to resign while another was recently reprimanded for inviting a porn star to speak on campus.
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point chancellor and provost are facing calls to resign amid high-level discussions to eliminate several majors, including history. More than 100 UW-Stevens Point faculty members signed a letter, addressed to Chancellor Bernie Patterson and Provost Greg Summers, stating a lack of confidence in Patterson and Summers' ability to "steer us effectively through our current crisis, or the challenging years ahead," according to the Stevens Point Journal.
"I am deeply disappointed by your decision to actively recruit, advocate for, and pay for a porn star to come to the UW-La Crosse campus..."
“We, as members of the UWSP community, write to oppose Chancellor Patterson’s restructuring plan and to express our lack of confidence in his administration," the letter reads, in part, according to the Stevens Point Journal. "It fails to address our dire financial emergency, which results from years of mismanagement by Patterson’s own administration."
In a Nov. 12 proposal, Patterson advocated scrapping more than five majors - history, French, German, geoscience, and geography, as well as part of the art program - in an effort to reduce costs. Patterson cited "small enrollments" in the programs as his reasoning. As Campus Reform reported previously, enrollment in the history major, specifically, has dropped 48 percent over the past five years.
Faculty members who signed on to the letter calling for Patterson and Summers' resignations expressed disappointment in the level of involvement the university sought from faculty members while making such consequential decisions.
Further, faculty members claimed that the proposed cuts would actually be more severe than outlined in the chancellor's proposal, which Patterson has since stated was never intended as a comprehensive plan, according to the Stevens Point Journal.
At the UW-LaCrosse, Chancellor Joe Gow apologized after using $5,000 of university funds to pay porn star Nina Hartley to speak on campus. Gow also agreed to personally reimburse the school for the amount paid to the adult film actress.
UW System President Ray Cross sent a "Letter of Reprimand" to Gow on Nov. 6, five days after Hartley's campus appearance.
"I am deeply disappointed by your decision to actively recruit, advocate for, and pay for a porn star to come to the UW-La Crosse campus to lecture students about sex and the adult entertainment industry," Cross told Gow in the letter, a copy of which was published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "While I understand and appreciate your commitment to freedom of expression and public discourse, as Chancellor, you need to exercise better judgment when dealing with matters such as these."
"You are being reprimanded for exercising poor judgment and for a lack of responsible oversight with respect to the use of state funds," Cross added, noting that Gow's potential for a salary raise would be "impacted" by the incident.
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