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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 56, Number 12 (April 15, 1955)

The running battle over integration,   pp. 8-10

Page 8

                The Running Battle
Over Integration
          Governor's amended bill passes in
          State Senate; University still opposes measure
ASO-CALLED 'compromise" single-board integration bill
Swas passed by the State Senate on April 13, well past
normal Alumnus press time, and immediately messaged to the
Assembly. The vote was 28-4 on the measure, which is titled
  Three days later, the University of Wisconsin Regents, who
had opposed the original 279-S, strongly declared that they
did not consider the revised measure a "compromise" at all,
and were still definitely opposed to the measure. (See page
five, this issue.)
  Here are the essentials of the bill as passed by the Senate:
  1. There would be a single board of 15 regents: five from
the present University Board of Regents, five from the present
State College Board, four new appointees of the governor, and,
finally, the state superintendent of public instruction.
   2. The 15-man board would be split into two sections, or
committees, with limited authority, one to concern itself with
"day-to-day administrative problems" which affect the Univer-
sity "rather than higher education as a whole" (e.g., "per-
sonnel, student affairs") and another section to perform a
similar role in state college operation. This division of respon-
sibility would be made annually by the board itself. The role
of the state superintendent of public instruction on the split-up
sections is not spelled out.
   3. The 15-man board would meet all together to consider
"broad, statewide problems" (e.g., "finance, expansion, build-
ing and educational programs") and "review" action of the
sections. The bill specifies that the welfare of the whole state
should be the "paramount concern" of the board.
   4. The board would prepare a single, coordinated plan for
 higher education in Wisconsin to be filed with the governor
 and the legislature and in accordance with this plan the board
 would determine an educational program "within the limits
 of available resources." The master plan could be reconsidered
 by the regents each year. (These provisions are taken from the
 University-approved bill 451-S.)
   5. There would be a merger of Milwaukee State College
 and Milwaukee Extension into a degree-granting, four year
 institution with a provost responsible to the University of
 Wisconsin president. No appropriation of funds is involved
 and no provision is made for either a name or any expansion
 of the educational program in Milwaukee.
   This compromise measure was worked out within the ranks
 of the State Senators who favored and opposed the original
 279-S. Some opponents of integration who voted for the
 compromise did so, they said, "with tongue in cheek," doubt-
 ful that the new system would be any improvement over the
present set-up. Four senators refused to retreat from their two-
board stand.
  Thus the amended bill went to the Assembly, where two
years ago an administration-backed, single board integration
bill was killed after its passage in the Senate.
XW   .HATEVER INTEGRATION in education may mean
  Vin other sections of the United States, in Wisconsin it
has no racial overtones.
   In a state which for years has been up at the very top in
higher education, the question of integration still boils down
to this:
   Is it necessary to put on the shoulders of one board of re-
gents the full responsibility for planning economical and
efficient means of educating the state's youth?
   Governor Walter Kohler, with support that includes the
state colleges, argues that such a step is necessary.
   The University of Wisconsin and a variety of supporters
emphatically say   "no'--that cooperative action   between
existing boards is the proper approach to the problem.
   Why, they ask, should the state junk a good system of
higher education that already has a high degree of coordina-
tion in favor of a set-up such as that embodied by current
integration bill 279S, "an ambiguous measure wrapped in
doubt and tied up with a big question mark?"
   The leisurely pace of the Alumnus is no match for the
sometimes hectic happenings on the integration battlefront.
And by the time Alumnus readers see this, although it is
written beyond norma! deadline, the picture may be consid-
erably different.
   Some   things won't change, however, including      the
chronology of events up until April 12:
January 13-Governor indicates he'll ask for higher educa-
     tion coordination in message to Legislature.
 January 18-Bill 11-A making Stout Institute and Platteville
     Institute of Technology part of state college system,
     abolishing two boards of regents, is introduced by Legis-
     lative Council. Later passed by both houses, signed by
 February 22-Bill 279-S, embodying Governor's ideas on
      single board to govern state colleges and University, is
      introduced in Senate.

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