University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

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

The running battle over integration,   pp. 8-10


Page 9


March 8-Substitute amendment to 279-S introduced in Sen-
    ate. This would keep present boards intact, but provide
    that they cooperate in preparing comprehensive plan for
    meeting future higher educational needs, and make leg-
    islative appropriations contingent on this cooperation. It
    merges Milwaukee Extension and Milwaukee State Col-
    lege, putting both under University of Wisconsin. This
    measure is University-approved.
March 9-Hearing on 279-S. UW Regents (except one),
     alumni, other groups voice opposition. Governor's rep-
     resentative, state college regents (except one), some tax-
     payers' and other groups approve measure.
 March 15-Lieutenant governor rules substitute amendment
     to 279-S is not germane, thus blocking consideration in
     Senate.
 March 17-This "not-germane" substitute amendment is given
     different title, made into a separate bill and introduced
     by Joint Committee on Finance as 451-S.
 March 22-Bill 452-S, which covers only Milwaukee coordi-
     nation and puts Milwaukee Extension and the Wisconsin
     State College there under the University, is introduced.
 March 25-279-S supporters decide to amend 279-S to pro-
     vide definitely for Milwaukee merger under the Univer-
     sity.
 March 30-Senate takes up integration bills as special order
     of business. After parliamentary maneuvering, action is
     delayed by anti-integration forces in face of apparent
     defeat. (First test vote comes out 17-15 in favor of
     279-S.)
  April 1-Senate, scheduled to take up integration, votes to
      delay consideration for several days and allow for pro-
      posed compromise.
  April 5-Senate majority leader announces no compromise
      reached.
  April 6-To obtain time for further compromise efforts, con-
      sideration of 279-S is delayed for one week.
    -Bill 451-S is again referred to Education Committee, by
      voice vote, thus virtually killing chances of this Univer-
      sity-approved measure that provided for two boards and
      compulsory cooperation.
    -Bill 452-S is also referred to Education Committee, by
      a 20-11 vote, with promise of majority leader that it
      will be recalled if 279-S fails to pass in either Senate
      or Assembly.
  THE ISSUES INVOLVED
    The big issue, of course, is simply this: one board or two?
    The various compromise talks indicated above have found
  it seemingly impossible to reconcile the two points of view.
  That these efforts have persisted seems less attributable to the
  wishes for compromise on the part of the integration forces
  than it does to a politically-stimulated desire to prevent inter-
  party dissension.
     The difficulty of compromise is further pointed up by the
   variety of reasons that legislators, and others, use to justify
   their positions. Those favoring 279-S do so because:
       1. It's an administration bill, or
       2. It's supposed to provide more economical and effi-
          cient administration, or
   APRIL, 1955
  3. It says it would provide "equal opportunity" in
     higher education, or
  4. It would strengthen the state colleges, or
  5. They feel that only passage of 279-S would provide
     merger in Milwaukee, or
  6. The bill would eliminate duplication of buildings and
     curriculum, or
  7. They feel that some combination of the above reasons
     make 279-S desirable.
Those allied against the governor's integration bill believe:
   1. It would weaken the University. or
2.
3.
It would weaken the state colleges, or
It would result in too much centralization of power,
or
    4. That it would mean unnecessary duplication of facil-
       ities to really provide "equal opportunity," or
    5. It would not necessarily provide more efficient and
       economical administration and might operate in re-
       verse, or
    6. That a single 15-man board is too big and would
       represent specific areas rather than the entire state, or
     7. That the job is too big for a single board of part-time
        regents, or
     8. That the bill allows for the appointment of any kind
        of supervising personnel, including a chancellor, or
     9. That it's best to take things step by step, i.e., to be
        content, during this legislative session, to pass 11-A
        (Stout and Platteville inclusion in state college sys-
        tem) and to provide for merger at Milwaukee, or
    10. That some combination of these reasons make 279-S
        undesirable.
THE BATTLE LINES
   In newspaper parlance, political disagreements are divided
into two general categories: they're either "bitter clashes" or
they're "friendly arguments."
  According to one story in the Milwaukee journal the cur-
rent fight falls in the first category. Certainly there can be no
question that it has been an all-out campaign, with both oppos-
ing camps using a variety of tactics.
   Here is the way some of the key groups and individuals
line up:
   Against the governor's integration bill are the Univer-
sity Regents and the University faculty, both of which groups
favor coordination through cooperation. The University Board
of Visitors issued a strong statement against 279-S and any
superboard of regents that "would know less and less about
more and more." Leaders of the Farmers Union, the Farm
Bureau and Milwaukee labor groups have expressed serious
misgivings against complete integration. A "hard core" group
of about one dozen senators, mostly Republican, have con-
tinued to strongly oppose 279-S in legislative maneuvering.
(There were no "test votes" in the Assembly before April 7.)
   Most outspoken opponent of Gov. Kohler's bill among
 University Regents has been former Governor Oscar Renne-
 bohm. Another high political figure opposing 279-S has been
 Thomas Coleman, former state GOP voluntary committee
 chairman.
   Governor Kohler counts among his supporters the state
 college regents, the state college faculty, and his own "hard
 core" group of about a dozen Republican legislators in the


Go up to Top of Page