It had already been known that when Scott Walker was to present his budget proposal, he would recommend cutting $300 million from the University of Wisconsin system. He needed to do this to help cover the $2.2 billion shortfall he created.
What was not widely known was that Walker was also going to propose destroying the Wisconsin Idea, the very essence of the UW system and what makes it an internationally respected system.
What is the Wisconsin Idea? Well, this:
First summed up by UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904, the Wisconsin Idea means that "the borders of the University are the borders of the state." Van Hise declared that he would “never be content until the beneficent influence of the university reaches every family in the state” and this has long been the core philosophy of the UW System, which has worked hard over the decades to generate programs that serve people and communities all over the state.
As first reported by The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch, Walker wanted to do away with this core mission by striking out key language outlining the UW mission:
It's not surprising that Walker would want to kill anything that has to deal with searching for the truth.
Walker said that the reason for the change in language is because he wanted to have the UW system focus on economic development and to change its goal "to meet the state's workforce needs."
In other words, he wanted to change a renowned university system and make it into glorified tech colleges.
The backlash was fast and furious and much more than what Walker expected, so much so that he appeared to back pedal from his proposal, calling it a "drafting error":
Ah, so it was all a mistake? Not really.
Just hours before he made that backtracking tweet, he was still going strong on his original intent:
But earlier in the day, Walker told reporters in De Pere that the proposed language change in his 2015-17 budget plan would better focus the University of Wisconsin System.
“The focus would be honed in, in particular to look at making sure that we prepare individuals in this state ... for the jobs and opportunities that are available in the state,” Walker said, according to Wisconsin Radio Network.
In summary, Walker wants to change the UW system into a taxpayer-funded jobs training program, another version of corporate welfare. Walker didn't expect anyone to notice this, but when they did and expressed their outrage, he tried to spin it as a drafting error. But his own words belie that lie.
I would dare say that Walker is hoping that, with the help of a cooperative and compliant corporate media, people will soon forget this egregious pandering to his dark money benefactors and will allow his changes to stand.
The only thing Walker has left to do is change the UW-Madison mascot from a badger to one more suiting of himself - a weasel.