October 4, 2012

"A trio of high-profile UW-Madison professors went public Wednesday with concerns about President Barack Obama's planned Thursday campaign rally..."

"... saying students who want to attend are unfairly being required to supply a phone number and email address to the campaign, even having to click 'I'm In' to get a free ticket at the campaign's website...."
Vince Sweeney, vice chancellor for university relations, said the university takes the concerns seriously and will respond formally but hadn't done so as of Wednesday night. In linking to the Obama campaign's registration site on the university's website, the university sought to provide as much information as possible to interested attendees, he said.

"We don't manage the (Obama) link, we're not collecting that information, and ultimately if it's a problem for those wishing to attend, it's an individual decision" whether or not to provide an email address and phone number, he said.

Sweeney said the campaign approached the university about holding the event at Bascom Hill, and the university decided it could make the site work, noting there are advantages for the university in showcasing a central attraction on campus. Obama also visited campus in 2010, that time holding a campaign rally across the street at Library Mall.
Library Mall is not the center of campus, and it was closed down later in the day. Even so, there was much hand-wringing from the administration about whether the event impinged on the University's education mission. And notably, Obama wasn't running for office in 2010. This time, it seems the University jumped at the opportunity to provide Obama, now facing an election, with the most beautiful photo-op possible, shutting down many buildings — and many classrooms — for an entire school day.
Obama's campaign will pay UW-Madison $15,000 for Thursday's rally....
What?!
... Police and other public safety costs will be borne by taxpayers. For the 2010 visit, those costs added up to about $260,000.
Wow! What a contribution to the campaign! University personnel have been working like mad on this visit, with all sorts of construction and wiring and papering over windows and so forth for the last 2 days. We've had to rearrange our work schedules, find new classrooms or methods of teaching. The cost and the disruption are immense even before the event has begun. $15,000! But supposedly we get some valuable PR out of "showcasing a central attraction on campus." What about the negative PR we get out of shunting aside our educational mission?

ADDED: I am personally messing up the hoped-for PR. To the extent that I'm turning the positive to negative, I'm subtracting value from the University. My dissent is costing the taxpayers money, and I apologize for that.

AND: More here, including maps showing the extent to which UW students and employees are excluded from our work and study places. And:
A set of guidelines released by the university Sept. 8 read “political activities are generally not allowed inside campus buildings or spaces, recreational sports facilities, athletics facilities or campus libraries.”

“Clearly it’s a campaign space, a space that’s being rented by a campaign,” said Vice Chancellor for University Relations Vince Sweeney in reaction to Mayer’s criticisms. “But it is the President of the United States.”
Rented by the campaign... for a paltry $15,000, with the huge difference in cost coming from the taxpayers.
“Having a president visit as an educational public event is one thing,” Mayer wrote. “Forcing students to declare their support for a presidential candidate in order to attend the event on campus is quite another.”...
“It’s not a perfect situation,” Sweeney said. “But overall I think the benefits outweigh some of the negatives or the disruptions or issues that some people may raise.”

Downs said when Obama visited UW-Madison just two years ago, then Chancellor Biddy Martin insisted the event not be held on Bascom and instead moved it to Library Mall.

Martin made sure to “symbolically separate the event from the University itself,” according to Downs.
Biddy Martin, you may remember, is gone, a consequence of our failure to support her in her negotiations on behalf of the University with state government, which was, at the time, dominated by Republicans against whom right-thinking Madisonians were protesting with great vigor. (The taxpayers had to foot the bill for those protests, of course.)

64 comments:

Sorun said...

"...the university takes the concerns seriously and will respond formally but hadn't done so as of Wednesday night."

Maybe tomorrow. It's often easier to seek forgiveness than to ask permission. Especially if it's something you really really want.

Tim said...

The Legislature needs to cut funding.

Make the UW administrators sell brownies to pay for their campaign stunt for their failed president.

That's how accountability works.

MadisonMan said...

I was also amazed at the pittance the campaign is throwing at the University for this.

The University will bill the campaign for other costs. As if the campaign will pay them.

Oso Negro said...

The circus has come to your town! With elephants, barkers, and clowns!

Paddy O said...

This pretty much exemplifies Obama's whole approach to education.

It costs a lot of money. Teacher's lose the chance to teach. But it's a good photo-op and provides a chance for Obama to make more money and fuel his ambition.

Honestly, that analogy should be plastered everywhere.

Obama promises $15,000 when the cost is $250,000. Promises hope, makes everything much more inconvenient and difficult. Describes his whole administration in a nutshell.

Triangle Man said...

The Legislature needs to cut funding.

So that tuition goes up more? I'm sure you thought it all the way through.

Phaedrus said...

My tongue in cheek comment to the professor would be that her comments concerning Obama visit are taking an "UGLY" turn. Somehow it seems like you should be taking the high road. This attitude can't help.

Paddy O said...

"The circus has come to your town!"

Is Biden coming? Then, I hear, we also get a caboose full of clowns and acrobats!

Patrick said...

Obama's campaign will pay UW-Madison $15,000 for Thursday's rally....

Careful with that. His campaign has a history of stiffing towns for expenses he's promised to pay.

Ipso Fatso said...

In your heart Ann, you know you are going to vote for BO anyway. You might as well just admit it.

Roger Sweeny said...

Part of the University's mission is to provice service to the State of Wisconsin. I am sure the people who run the University (including most of the faculty) think that the State will be served if Obama is re-elected. So helping him do that is part of the mission.

Roger Sweeny said...

Part of the University's mission is to provice service to the State of Wisconsin. I am sure the people who run the University (including most of the faculty) think that the State will be served if Obama is re-elected. So helping him do that is part of the mission.

Bill Harshaw said...

I see Obama is coming to George Mason U tomorrow--apparently inside a building. Wisconsin doesn't have a big fieldhouse he could have used?

Triangle Man said...

Phaedrus steps into the classic sexist muck. How unappealing your words make you Prof. Althouse!

MadisonMan said...

I think David Ward should pull the Power Cord for the microphone and just hold it there, and wait for the $15K in cash. No money, no message.

I initially wrote John Wiley. I have never been able to separate those two in my mind.

kimsch said...

Mad Man,

My first thought on the $15K was "what an insult!"

And yet, UW takes it as a compliment.

Sad.

AprilApple said...

Because this is an "educational" stop - will the tax payers pick up the bill?

traditionalguy said...

I think of this as UW's bowl game this year. It's not the Rose Bowl, but it is a crowd of Hero worshipers and cheerleaders for a Messiah of the Left.

Speaking of actual heroes, Maybe J J Watt will come back. And maybe Montee Ball can attend with sufficient secret service guards.

Shows cost money.

Sorun said...

Here comes the rain. Does God hate Obama?

Tim said...

"So that tuition goes up more? I'm sure you thought it all the way through."

No.

Make the administrators who made the decision come up with the money.

Like I said, make them sell brownies.

I put that part in too.

Did you miss it?

garage mahal said...

So that tuition goes up more? I'm sure you thought it all the way through.

Tim doesn't think. He burps.

Ivy said...

Wow! What a contribution to the campaign!

As an "undecided" Ann, do you know which of the "Obama's" that he has portrayed himself as, is the one that is the beneficiary of the UW contribution?

furious_a said...

University personnel have been working like mad on this visit, with all sorts of construction and wiring and papering over windows and so forth for the last 2 days. We've had to rearrange our work schedules, find new classrooms or methods of teaching. The cost and the disruption are immense even before the event has begun.

...and now it's going to rain. Thunderstorm, even. Heh.

Good luck collecting that $15,000, Wisconsin!

David said...

Hey, Althouse is now "high profile."

Let's see how she handles the fame and celebrity.

edutcher said...

Hey, directing the kids to the campaign site is just bizness, nuttin' personal.

It's da Chicago Way.

Tim said...

"Tim doesn't think. He burps.

Garage Mahal can't read.

He's a product of public schools, now doubt.

garage mahal said...

He's a product of public schools, now doubt.

Hahahaha. Now doubt.

Aridog said...

Part of the University's mission is to provide service to the State of Wisconsin ...

... and by golly, they are "servicing" the state taxpayers just like the working girls at Nevada's Mustang Ranch "service" folks.

Tim said...

For the edification of the morons on the board, my full statement is as follows:

"Tim said...

The Legislature needs to cut funding.

Make the UW administrators sell brownies to pay for their campaign stunt for their failed president.

That's how accountability works."


If you can read that, but still not understand it, you are safe in considering yourself a moron.

And, undoubtedly, an Obama voter too.

Tim said...

Oooooh.

A typo.

Terrible.

First. Time. Ever. On. The. Internet.

Oh oh.

Internet failure.

Oh my.

What to do, what to do?

Oh, I got it.

FUCK YOU.

SteveR said...

I'm sure there are hundreds of kids from high schools throughout the land who will go trucking into the guidance counsoler on Friday to get the goods on a future at UW.

dbp said...

""We don't manage the (Obama) link, we're not collecting that information, and ultimately if it's a problem for those wishing to attend, it's an individual decision" whether or not to provide an email address and phone number, he said.""

So the university couldn't have demanded that any students be allowed to attend? The administration could have required admittance to any faculty, staff or student with ID. They still could.

Ann Althouse said...

Even $150,000 would have been a nominal gesture.

BarrySanders20 said...

As a taxpayer in Cheeseland, the forced contribution is annoying. It's more annoying that the U is making students and the public sign up thru the campaign to get a ticket to the event that closed down their/our university. But this is all OK because it's for the greater good, don't cha know.

And they wonder why the R's in the legislature scrutinize their budget.

Sorun said...

"Obama's campaign will pay UW-Madison $15,000 for Thursday's rally, an increase of $4,500 from the president's last campaign stop at the university.."

At least the trend is favorable. Next time UW can expect around $20K.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Stand your ground, Althouse.

Don't be cruel or neutral.

alan markus said...

The Legislature needs to cut funding.

So that tuition goes up more? I'm sure you thought it all the way through.


That's an easy one, Garage Mahal & Triangle Man:

Talk about singular thinking. Maybe the funding cuts don't have to translate into "tuition goes up more". How about reducing staff pay, benefits, eliminating a few "diversity coordinator" positions, whatever?

I'm sure Tim had that in mind too.

Chip S. said...

Triangle Man said...
"The Legislature needs to cut funding."

So that tuition goes up more? I'm sure you thought it all the way through.

Shall we think this all the way through, then?

Tuition is paid by the families of students who are the direct beneficiaries of a UW education. Taxes are paid by those same families plus many others who are not direct beneficiaries of the education those students provide. This includes many workers who would never have been admitted to UW-Madison. (You can argue about some spillover benefits from higher ed to the general public, but you can't argue rationally that they're anywhere near the value of the benefits accruing directly to students.)

So why should the level of tuition be sacrosanct? The burden of the argument for taxpayer subsidies is on those who argue for them, not those who argue against them.

Also, surely you're aware that "tuition" is a list price, and that students from families of limited means are given discounts in the form of grants and subsidized loans. So setting tuition is not a matter of guaranteeing access to all qualified applicants.

Hagar said...

It is inappropriate for a university - or any other publicly funded educational institution - to be made availablee for a political campaign event. Period.

And "Instapundit" moved to Texas? That little slip speaks to the Journal's frame of mind!

X said...

So that tuition goes up more? I'm sure you thought it all the way through.


Triangle Man is playing one dimensional chess

Sorun said...

"And "Instapundit" moved to Texas?"

No doubt the writer got into journalism for the reason most do: "to change the world."

FleetUSA said...

UW is making UVA look like geniuses. UVA told the campaign "NO" because they didn't want classes, etc. disrupted for a full day just for another photo op at Mr. Jefferson's University.

karrde said...

I think I said this once before.

This entire embroglio is an example of how far the life of the President (and his circle of staff, and the press who report on him) is from the life of most people in the country.

They either don't realize or don't care how much their efforts alter/inpinge on the everyday life of normal people.

University students, professors, City Police/Campus Security, store owners, restaurant wait staff, regular commuters, etc. All of them have their lives interrupted by the President visiting town for a big event, and the President doesn't care about the ways that the little people are inconvenienced by the visit.

In this case, University administrators appear to have aided and abetted them in this non-caring attitude. If they have a problem with the way the campaign is set up, they can negotiate/wrangle/plan-ahead to keep this event from interrupting University life.

Sorun said...

Is Tammy Baldwin still showing up or does she suddenly have a prior commitment in Wausau?

Cheryl said...

Sometimes when you post pictures of your lovely hometown I feel a little jealous. But I read the comments over at that article, and I don't feel jealous. I admire you for taking a stand.

I thought you were losing your mind lately, honestly, in your failure to condemn Obama in his utter fecklessness and instead make excuses for him. Now I see what a brew you live in and I think I get it. Wow. Keep on. I'll keep reading.

kimsch said...

When is this supposed to start in Madison? Obama is currently speaking in Denver. Where it's 37°F outside...

Lyle said...

Someone might need to be fired.

Colonel Angus said...

I'm rather surprised at this reaction. Considering UW is in a lefty town and acadameia is pretty much leftwing as are a lot of university students, I would have thought Obama's visit would have them lining the streets and cheering like Paris in 1944 and here you are crying over a few missed days of indoctri.....I mean education and a paltry $250k.

I find your lack of enthusiasim a bit....dare I say, ugly?

paminwi said...

From a commenter on the State journal website: "All 3 complainers are noted conservatives. Althouse is a tramp and her main "legal contribution" is a blog; she's lucky to be tenured."

Don't those people KNOW ANYTHING? She is an independent and she gets all gooey over BO!

Just curious: how do you think Althouse slept last night? Did she toss and turn thinking "How did this happen to my guy? He is usually SO AWESOME!"

Don't worry Ann, it is NOT Obama, it was the altitude! (At least according to Al Gore)

Chip S. said...

Lyle said...
Someone might need to be fired.

On election day he will be, I hope.

Patrick said...

I think it is embarrassing that only 3 professors spoke up.

TWM said...

Let them raise the tuition. Kids should go to a junior college their first two years anyway. Saves a ton of money.

carrie said...

I assume that the rally is open to anyone who is willing to give their name and email address. I just saw a well dressed middle-aged gentleman walking around the capitol square with a big sign that had "Obama is Bigoted" and "Obama is Anti-Catholic" written on it. Now I understand why there is a ban on sticks (i.e., sign posts), umbrellas, etc.

Lem said...

“But overall I think the benefits outweigh some of the negatives or the disruptions or issues that some people may raise.”

Who decided?
Was there a meeting, did it come up for a vote?

And this is a learning institution?

Maybe the University wanted to impart a "teachable moment" in Autocracy.

jeyi said...

ref: Althouse later shared it with instapundit.com, a conservative-leaning blog run by a Texas law professor..."

Wow... "Texas", ehhh? The rag from which this quotes comes, the [Wisconsin] State Journal, sure is deeply clued into the Innerwebs.

Nate Whilk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nate Whilk said...

“Forcing students to declare their support for a presidential candidate in order to attend the event on campus is quite another.”

Remember when the 2004 Bush campaign required people to sign a pledge of endorsement to attend some rallies?

Then, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left about a "loyalty oath", even though it was no such thing.

Now, change the party and add a phone number and email address, and there are only a few objections.

What could possibly be the difference?

leslyn said...

In terms of popularity, articles in the Journal (including this press release) regarding the campaign visit were outnumbered by stories about the Badgers, 3-2. :)

leslyn said...

Hagar said...
It is inappropriate for a university - or any other publicly funded educational institution - to be made availablee for a political campaign event. Period.

They've been doing it since at least the 1950's (see St. Anselm's, which accepts public money) and, I suspect, since post-Revolutionary times.

Besides tradition, it's a political and social science event. Should students be denied all outside speakers because they have a point of view? Or only political ones?

You might as well argue that Nino shouldn't speak at the law school.

leslyn said...

Ivy said...
"Wow! What a contribution to the campaign!

"As an "undecided" Ann..." Undecided? When did that happen?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I love "Glenn Reynolds, Texas law professor." ("Hey, it was some red state beginning with T. What, you think I have all fifty-whatever-it-is memorized or something? That's the biggest one on this-here map, use that.")

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

leslyn,

Besides tradition, it's a political and social science event. Should students be denied all outside speakers because they have a point of view? Or only political ones?

Oh, I see. It's educational. It hopelessly disrupts actual education -- planned education, the stuff the students were paying for and their professors were working to provide -- but there's nothing like seeing the President in person. Reading what he said, or watching video of it, isn't remotely the same learning experience. And for optimal learning-experience potential, it's best that it be done in the middle of a university campus, most of whose students have nothing else to do because -- whaddaya know? -- the buildings in which they would ordinarily have been attending classes are all locked down.

You might as well argue that Nino shouldn't speak at the law school.

You know, I don't think Nino would involve $260K in security preparations.

Calypso Facto said...

I'm sure there are lots of people who would like to rent the entire University for $15,000 a day. Will they all get their chance?

reformed trucker said...

Ann, your name was mentioned specifically as one of the objectors on AM talk radio today in Milwaukee (the other two were not). I also had a problem with the whole cell #/ email thing. And good on you if you were actually more concerned about education. One student calculated that he was forced to make a $150 donation to King Putt by not being able to attend class.