U. Wisconsin chancellor, former Sec. of Commerce lobbies against Walker’s budget proposal with school email, resources

Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Former Reporter

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  • Rebecca Blank, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, has emailed students and alumni throughout the month of February encouraging all to protest Governor Walker’s proposed budget plan.
  • Blank’s salary is set at nearly $500,000 while Walker makes $147,328.
  • Walker’s plan would slash more than $300,000,000 from the UW System’s budget over two years in an effort to make the state’s public higher education more efficient.
  • In response to Wis., Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) recent budget proposal—which, while it slashes funding towards education, is designed to make education more efficient—a University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor has been spending her days emailing students and alumni to lobby against the plan.

    “If you choose to contact your legislator on behalf of the university, I encourage you to thank them for engaging in an active discussion about the university budget, tell them you recognize that the state is facing a difficult budget situation and that the university must do its share along with other state agencies, but that a budget cut of the magnitude called for in the proposed budget is just too big and will have a significant negative impact on UW-Madison and its students,” Rebecca Blank wrote in one email to alumni, according to the Daily Caller.

    Blank hasn’t been the only UW System employee that has spent time actively lobbying against Walker’s budget plan.   

    Blank, who served as the acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce for one year under President Barack Obama, was hired by UW-Madison in 2013. Prior to her time in the U.S. Department of Commerce, Blank was dean and professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan for almost 10 years.

    The chancellor receives a base salary of $495,000 from federal funds, taxpayer dollars, and students’ tuition money. According to Watchdog.org, only about one-fifth of her salary comes from private funds.

    In comparison, Walker’s salary is set at $147,328.

    “I encourage you to stay informed about the UW budget by visiting uwalumni.com/advocacy,” Blank’s email said.

    In a separate email, also obtained by the Daily Caller, Blank urged students to contact their legislators and ask them to help get the $300 million in cuts to the UW System reduced.

    Blank did, however, concede that the plan does include a two-year freeze in tuition for in-state undergraduates and creates a “public authority model that would provide flexibilities in areas such as purchasing, management of building projects, and authority over a pay plan for university employees,” according to the Daily Caller.

    Blank hasn’t been the only UW System employee that has spent time actively lobbying against Walker’s budget plan. Dr. Beth Lueck, a professor at UW-Whitewater, offered her freshmen in her English class extra credit for protesting Walker and his plan.

    Many UW System students have been actively engaged in discussion and events since Walker’s plan was announced. As previously reported by Campus Reform, UW-Madison’s student body president has also emailed the school’s student body, encouraging students to contact their state representatives and join protests sponsored by the College Democrats.

    Meanwhile, College Republicans at UW-M have received harassing emails from fellow peers, calling them “cunts,” “neanderthals,” and “ignorant mouthpieces,” in response to an email sent from the students encouraging their peers to research Walker’s proposal before attending protests.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn



    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Former Reporter

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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