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

Berge, John
Keeping in touch with Wisconsin,   p. 5


Page 5


keeping in touch with WISCONSIN
JOHN BERGE, Executave Direetor
WISCONSIN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
  THIS ISSUE of the ALUMNUS has been delayed to give
you the complete story of the Senate's action on the integration
bill, 279, S. It was introduced in the Senate on February 22
by Senator W. W. Clark of Vesper. After a hectic voyage in
the Senate (see page 8-9), a so-called "compromise" version
was pushed through on April 13 and sent to the Assembly.
  This "compromise" still includes most of the objectionable
features of the governor's original bill. The Wisconsin State
journal describes it as "no compromise at all" and "full of
holes and doubts." The Milwaukee Journal, which has con-
sistently supported the governor on integration, says "It's a
strange, cumbersome setup and the Board itself is bigger than
desirable." University faculty and Regents are opposed to this
so-called "compromise", as indicated in the following state-
ment issued by the Regents at their meeting on April 16:
  "We believe that the welfare of the young people of Wis-
consin should be the first consideration in all planning for
state-supported higher education and its administration. This
calls for the continued distinction of the University of Wis-
consin. We are not opposed to any legislation which, while
protecting the quality of the University, will provide for co-
6rdinated planning for higher education in Wisconsin. But we
see no need for such revolutionary changes as are proposed in
Bill 279S. We believe that these changes would do incal-
culable harm to the University and to the State.
  "The Substitute Amendment to Bill 279S passed by the
Senate is not acceptable to the faculty, administration or re-
gents of the University. The amendment makes no basic
changes in 279S, and includes all the objectionable features of
279S. Needless to say, it is not a compromise approved by the
University.
  "The bill as passed provides for merger under the Univer-
sity of the two state-supported institutions of higher education
in Milwaukee, this merger to take place on or before Janu-
ary 1, 1957. The faculty, administration and regents of the
University favor such a merger. We note, however, that 279S
includes no provision for expansion of the existing programs
iii Milwaukee and appropriates no money for such expansion.
In contrast, the University has for several years expanded its
educational programs in Milwaukee and last July, well before
279S was proposed, the University Board of Regents asked for
over $360,000 to expand its Milwaukee program in the ensu-
ing biennium. We recognize the need for expansion in this
metropolitan area, and believe that this should take place at
once.
APRIL, 1955
   "The Substitute Amendment, like the original Bill 279S,
makes revolutionary changes in the administration of the state-
supported institutions of higher education. It abolishes the
board of regents of the University and the board of regents
of the State Colleges-boards under which the University and
the State Colleges have become outstanding institutions in
their respective fields. In their place there would be a single,
fifteen-man board of regents for the University and State
Colleges.
   "The bill as passed provides for two, seven-man "Regents'
Boards," one for the University, one for the State Colleges.
These so-called "Regents' Boards" are not boards. They are
merely committees of the overall fifteen-man board of regents
of the University and State Colleges. The "Regents" Boards"
are chosen for one year only, and all their decisions "shall be
reviewed by the entire board." The "Regents' Boards" are to
deal only with "day to day administrative problems," problems
which are now handled-as should be the case-by the presi-
dents, other administrative officers and faculties of the Univer-
sity and State Colleges. All problems "such as finance, expan-
sion, building construction and educational programs" are to
be considered by the fifteen-man board, in which "the govern-
ment of the University and State Colleges shall be vested."
   "We consider this organization totally unsatisfactory. It is
clear that the "Regents' Board for the University" would have
no real authority. All power would be centered in the fifteen-
man board. We are convinced that this would do damage to
the University and to the cause of higher education in Wis-
consin. No great University in the entire United States has
attained greatness under such a form of administration. To
serve the people of the State to best advantage, the University
needs a strong board devoting its attention to University
problems.
   "Various objectionable features of the original Bill 279S
are retained in the Substitute Amendment as passed by the
Senate. Under the bill as passed the new board has power to
put all the state institutions of higher education under a chan-
cellor. The loose wording of the bill may give the board
power to grant University degrees to graduates of the present
State Colleges. The bill still carries the very vague provision
that the board shall "provide such courses at all state institu-
tions of higher learning as the legislature, in the interests of
education, may require to provide equal opportunity for higher
education throughout the state." In the light of a co6rdinate
section which provides against undesirable duplication we can-
not tell what this section means. However, it seems to be an
invitation to expend enormous sums. The result would prob-
ably be the deterioration of the quality of existing institutions.
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