UW Struggle: Alien Abduction Edition

You’re not paranoid if what you’re fearing is real. Then, you’re just right.

Never trust a legislator when reason is on the line!
Never trust a legislator when reason is on the line!

With that, I announce that the corporate takeover of Wisconsin is now complete. We’re at the point, literally, where we can’t go one hour without another jaw-dropping legislative giveaway. At 5:30 we’re prohibiting poor people from buying shoes with fancy laces and at 6:15 raccoons can teach high school English and math. And holy bright baboon’s butt, we’re not even close to finished.

Before I go on, let me quickly offer two points that must submerge into our collective (un)conscious. I will offer them without context, but trust me on this: first, there is no such thing as the “Tea Party”—there is only movement/corporate conservatism. Second, the UW does not have leadership; it has lobbyists who, unfortunately, don’t lobby for the system. Thank you. I will now proceed.

Tomorrow, the Joint Finance Committee will deal with the UW, and this I guarantee: things will emerge that are completely unexpected and shocking (see my opening paragraph about making it through an hour). Whatever those things may be, they are right now being handed to JFC committee members from the special interests who have pushed every other action that is destroying the quality of life in this state. To review, a greatly abridged list:

Eliminate collective bargaining: check.

Drive down wages with “Right to Work” (!): check.

Prep the state for massive charter predator school colonization and profiteering: check.

Cut state workers’ health benefits even further: check.

Throw scraps to culture warriors with something related to abortion: check.

Prime the state’s natural environment for profiteering: check.

Bend over backwards for sports and a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks Chronic Wasting Diseasers: check.

Undermine public higher ed: check.

Throw away any quality standards for K-12 teachers: check.

Waste loans on well-connected deadbeats: check.

Screw with wages again and repeal Prevailing Wage Law: check.

And on and on and on. Nothing makes any sense anymore, and there is not an ounce of reason in our state government. It’s like the entire Capitol was abducted by aliens within the last 12 months. There is only ideology, or in some cases, playing at ideology. Mary Czaja, the rocket scientist behind the elimination of teacher-certification standards, offered the ubiquitous “flexibility” line of reasoning. When asked to name a single district in need of such flexibilities, she could not.

Let us pause for a moment. This sounds a lot like how teachers catch feeble plagiarists—ask one question related to a source, or a basic “how did you come up with this idea?” and the whole charade crumbles. The woman literally has no idea why she’s making the proposal. She, like the rest of our fearless leaders, are told to do these things. That’s what ALEC is for: “Here, take this back home and sign your name on it, then turn it in.” May a higher, middle, or lower power help us all.

Really, I’m almost grateful that we’re not even trying to hide it anymore. Alberta Darling had a fundraiser scheduled while the Joint Finance Committee was meeting. I mean, it’s positively Roman. Senator Darling went on to cancel the fundraiser, but what does it matter? I’d prefer that people see this out in the open. It’s not as if these people aren’t going to be able to “donate” and receive what they want in return. Us poor schmucks should at least be able to press our faces against the windows while the beautiful people eat thousand-dollar dinners. What’s that Morrissey line? “Caligula would have blushed”?

But don’t worry, President Cross has our backs. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaahahahaha! (That’s abbreviated laughter.)

Memo to all people who would dare come in here with “But what could he do?” and “Ray’s a really nice guy”: take your first-name-basis and go home. You’ve been had. Again and again and again. What does he do when faculty in the UW Colleges dare question the top-down management of their new Chancellor? He understands of course. He stands up for them. Or not: “Sandeen is implementing reforms set in motion before her tenure, Cross said. ‘Her leadership should be applauded. It is what we expect of every chancellor.'”

What does that even mean? Someone’s to be applauded for implementing ideas that are not their own… when they are the leader? But let’s point out the real nugget here: President Cross’ comment confirms why the Colleges is seeking a no confidence vote in the first place: they feel they haven’t been listened to. They didn’t understand why none of their ideas were being considered. There were listening sessions. More listening sessions. Resolutions. Committees. Oh, shared governance, we’re working together!  Well, again, President Cross confirms that indeed all of the listening was a charade and not taken seriously; how can that not be the case if she’s implementing a program that pre-dates her arrival?

I could go on about President Cross here. About the full-blown nuclear meltdown that is his first year as system President, a year in which he called for tenured faculty to be more vigorously evaluated on…wait for it…their job performance. That weird noise you hear? That’s the tolling of the irony bell.

So, what should the UW expect tomorrow? I don’t think we have the capacity to imagine the worst. Just count on this: people who want to make money will have the opportunity to do so, or, people with money will get what they want. Yes to football and stadiums, no to tenure and shared governance. The entirety of UW humanities departments will be rendered to an undisclosed location in Syria. Conditions will exacerbate labor exploitation. Anyone with a shred of opportunity will flee. The public won’t care. Mr. Business will write an editorial about the real world.

We’re not just a corporate laboratory anymore. We’re a corporate state. So, while policy items continue to dominate the budget, where are all those freedom lovers? Where is the cry against government overreach? Hell, the best I can do is blog.

See you tomorrow! Who knows what our titles will be.

3 thoughts on “UW Struggle: Alien Abduction Edition

  1. Remember who was at the helm of UW Colleges before Sandeen; it was Cross himself. If she is implementing his ideas, perhaps the no-confidence vote should be against Cross.

  2. You are so right! It’s not “listening” when the Chancellor begins a session by declaring that specific ideas are off the table without discussion. It’s not “listening” when the Chancellor (after communication from the President) warns Colleges Deans before a PUBLIC forum designed to elicit ideas for stengthening the UW System that an organizer only wants to create trouble.

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