Wisconsin prof offers extra credit for attending anti-Walker budget protests

  • Dr. Beth Lueck provided students in her Freshman English class the opportunity to earn extra credit by “joining,” “observing,” or “protesting” an anti-Scott Walker budget rally on campus.

English students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater have been offered extra credit for protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) recent budget proposal, which includes cuts to the UW system.

The MacIver Institute, a conservative Wisconsin-based think tank, is reporting that Dr. Beth Lueck provided students in her Freshman English class the opportunity to earn extra credit by “joining,” “observing,” or “protesting” a rally held on the campus yesterday.

A Feb., 17, posting from the professor informed students of the date, time, and place of the rally in addition to offering them extra credit for attending.

As Campus Reform previously reported, Gov. Walker’s recently released 2015-2017 budget proposal included $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin system. Almost immediately after the budget was announced, protests erupted across the state.

On Feb., 4, UW Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer sent students an email that read in part, “I realize [the cuts] may make you feel helpless… However, the beauty of democracy is that we all have a voice. I would encourage you to use that voice.”

A Facebook event advertising the rally, which appears to have been organized by the university’s College Democrats chapter, invites the community to “Join [them] for a non-partisan rally with students, faculty and community members on the UW-Whitewater campus against Governor Walker's proposed $300 million cut to the UW System, along with speaking out against attacks on shared governance and faculty.”

Dr. Lueck, the English professor responsible for extending the extra credit offer, has a history of running for office on the Democratic ticket. She ran for State Senate in 2012 and State Assembly in 2014. Her assembly campaign’s Facebook page claimed she was running on a “progressive agenda in education, access to health care, and the economy.”

In a press release, Allison Strauel, Vice Chairman of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans and Chairman of UW-Whitewater College Republicans, declared that “Professor Lueck, in a display of irresponsible partisanship, has used her position to boost attendance for an Anti-Walker budget rally on campus. The nature of Dr. Lueck’s faculty status, gives her influence over her students and she wrongfully abused it.”

“As a student at UW-Whitewater I believe it is imperative that the partisan beliefs and biases of Professors remain outside of the classroom, especially in instances where students’ grades can be affected,” Strauel continued. “Unfortunately, Professor Lueck is not the first faculty member at UW-Whitewater to take a partisan position on the budget, and I doubt she will be the last.”

Dr. Lueck did not respond to Campus Reform’s requests for comment in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @emilyjashinksy

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