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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 54, Number 10 (May 1953)

What they say,   pp. 4-5


Page 4


             Post Mortem
  The University of Wisconsin officer, real-
istically accepting his defeat on the uni-
versity budget fight in the legislature, asked
aloud:
   "What did we do wrong? What errors
should we avoid in making up our budget
in 1955? Why were we beaten so badly?"
  It is a question most teachers and admin-
istrators, many of students and some of
alumni of the University of Wisconsin are
asking, and it is not easily answered. The
University has taken a bad defeat in politics.
It was hardly a fight, although the school
tried to make it one. There never was any
real doubt that the legislature would accept
Governor Kohler's money recommendations,
in spite of the school's efforts to prove that
those recommendations mean retrogression
and ruin to its programs and reputation.
  The observer who has watched the fight
from its beginnings comes away with some
impressions, necessarily tentative, but use-
ful perhaps in an analysis of one of the
main issues in state politics in this year.
   Perhaps of first importance is the univer-
sity's obvious failure to convince the man
most immediately concerned that it actually
presen'ed an efficient, thorough and docu-
mented budget.
  That man is Governor Kohler. Two of
his accountants spent most of a year exam-
ining the university's operations on the spot,
and later analyzed the school's appropria-
tion requests more carefully than any other
executive office had   ever reviewed them.
There were more executive office conferences
with University heads than with any other
department of the state government during
the preparation of the governor's budget
recommendations.
  That fact alone showed that the Univer-
sity's financing, to Kohler at least, was less
easily understood than the budgets of other
agencies. As the haggling continued. Koh-
ler's resolve evidently hardened. And when
the University resorted to political means
to defeat him in the legislature, it became
strictly a political brawl.
   It is not clear that the University in-
spired some of the crude pressures which
were applied. Perhaps it did not. But it
could have prevented them, and most other
department heads in the capital would have
predicted that such tactics would have exactly
the opposite effect from the one intended.
Legislators grew resentful and the school's
last chance to win some concessions, was
lost.
It may       be  supposed, moreover, that
former Governor Oscar Rennebohm acted
upon his own initiative when he publicly
challenged Kohler's judgment and leader-
ship. That was a fatal development. Kohler
could not back down, nor could the legisla-
ture gracefully repudiate the man now in
office to gratify the man who formerly held
the governorship, and who bears for the
present governor no particular affection.
  When the university published a lis' of
the critical services, in its own description,
it felt it would be obliged to drop under
the new budget, it chose with a striking lack
of realism. Some of them, indeed, inspired
the comment in the legislature that they
should never have been permitted. They
were reminders of luxuries rather than proofs
of threatened austerity.
4
  Finally, the university chose to make a
fight without allies. It could have foreseen
its forlorn position, had it noticed the pro-
ceedings in the statehouse this winter. It
was evidently   oblivious to the fact that
most other agencies were getting less in new
money recommendations than they wanted,
and in some instances less than had been
provided. The others, however, chose      to
accept the Kohler program without protest,
leaving  the university to make its fight
alone.
  The result was to put the school in the
position of challenging what appeared to
many persons as the first serious effort at
state government tax retrenchment in a long
time. It was to make a political contest
between the university and most popular
governor, by the election record, this state
has had in more than a generation. In those
terms the defeat, when it came, should not
have surprised the campus.
              -John Wyngaard,
                Madison correspondent
                for several state news-
                papers
  The wide breach that has developed be-
tween the University of Wisconsin and the
capitol . . . threatens serious consequences.
It can do lasting damage to a great institu-
tion.
  Regardless of where blame for the situa-
tion lies, the breach should be healed as
promptly as possible. The University Regents
and administration must now see the neces-
sity for keeping legislative leaders and the
governor more fully informed as to policies,
problems and plans. Legislators should curb
their tendency to pop off about the Univer-
sity and issue directives or pass resolutions
on matters properly left to University judg-
ment-the Rose Bowl contract, for instance.
   J . . just passed, a joint resolution . . .
could be helpful. It provides for an interim
committee of three senators, five assembly-
men and three citizens appointed by the
governor to make a study of the Univers'ty.
* . . The outcome will depend very largely
upon the character of the committee. It
should be composed of men who deserve
confidence of the legislature, governor, Uni-
versity and the public. Open minds, good
judgment and thoroughness are required if
their report is to be constructive. They must
dare to look as critically at attitudes and
actions of the Legislature, or the Governor,
as at those of the University ...
                 -the Milwaukee Journal
   One of the best th;ngs the University of
Wisconsin faculty did in a long time was
to vo'e reconsideration of its rejection of
the Rose Bowl football pact renewal. . . . To
say  tha t the  faculty's previous decision
bowled the state over is not exaggerating the
situation that was created ...
   The faculty is probably not the right 'body
to act upon a question of this nature. The
Board of Regents would have been a much
more suitable judge ...
   The people of the state who provide that
43 million dollars (sic) recently appropriated
to the University are exceedingly proud of
their great institution and of the great teams
it has developed in every field of athletic
endeavor. There is no better manner for the
University to keep in touch with the entire
population than by employing the keen inter-
est and high enthusiasm engendered by com-
petitive athletic sports to follow University
affairs.
                -Appleton Post-Crescent
Robert B. Armstrong was a graduate
biologist when he left Colgate Univer-
sity in 1945. Like most of us, he was
searching for his place in the world.
   He spent two years in research. But
Bob missed people. He wanted to help
them personally rather than indirectly.
He left the laboratory to look for some-
thing else.
   Then, one day, Bob had a heart-to-
heart talk with an old college classmate.
This friend, a New England Mutual
agent, pointed out how a career in life
insurance offers unlimited opportunities
for helping people.
   In remembering that conversation
now, Bob says: "It became clear that
New England Mutual offered the very
thing I was looking for-a chance really
to help people and at the same time
build a successful future for myself. Yes,
the life insurance business has been
good to me-very good!"
   Why not find out for yourself how you
can build your future at New England
Mutual? Mail the coupon below for a
booklet in which 15 men tell why they
chose a life insurance career with New
England Mutual.
NEW ENGLAND MUTUAL '&I [''
Box 333
Boston 17, Mass.
Please send me, without cost
or obligation, your booklet,
"Why We Chose New England Mutual."
  Name
I Address
I City             Zone     State    -
L--------------------
The NEW ENGLAND MUTUAL Life Insurance Company of Boston
The company that founded mutual life insurance in America - 1835
WISCONSIN ALUMNUS
A   A
1"*b0& 0)
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