Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Students meet with provost candidates

With a July 1 deadline for deciding next years UW-Madison provost position, the four candidates are spending the next week meeting with student and administrative officials.

A 13-member search and screen committee recommended the four candidates to Chancellor John Wiley. The committee is chaired by UW professor Richard Moss and is made up of faculty, academic staff, non-represented classified staff and students.

The finalists, announced by UW Communications early this month, include Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, associate dean of social sciences in the UW College of Letters and Science, Virginia Sapiro, Sophonisba P. Breckinridge Professor of Political Science and Women’s Studies at UW, Peter Spear, dean of the UW College of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychology at Colorado University in Boulder and Ellen Wartella, dean of the College of Communication and professor at the University of Texas in Austin.

The four candidates will replace current interim provost Gary Sandefur, who took over the post when John Wiley took over as Chancellor Jan. 1.

The newly appointed provost will stand as the university’s chief operating officer and deputy to the chancellor in academic and administrative management, and will serve as acting chancellor in the case of the chancellor’s absence.

Wartella became the first of the four to meet with students and administrators Wednesday. Confronted with questions about her plans to deal with labor issues, diversity concerns and communications avenues with student leaders, Wartella expressed her willingness to learn and work with the campus if chosen as provost.

“The University of Wisconsin is dealing with the issues that are facing all great university’s, and they are looking at UW to find ways of solving them,” Wartella said.

Wartella fielded questions related to the concerns of minority students who face a disproportionately white student body daily throughout her day-long session in Bascom Hall.

“At every meeting we’ve talked about the climate and diversity issue,” she said. “My sense is that there is a broad acknowledgment that climate is a problem. Now lets start to pursue [solutions.]”
Wartella admitted that the problem was not easily solved.

“I can’t give you a magic bullet,” she told a small group of student leaders Wednesday afternoon, but she said her experiences in Texas schools, where multiculturalism is more prevailant than in Wisconsin, will help ease some of the struggles.

“I will be committed as a provost to dealing with this,” she said. “The Anglo majority has to understand and appreciate diversity. The UW is not alone — it is a consequence of growing diversity.”

Waretella also answered questions dealing with various labor issues on the UW campus, ranging from the firing of 24 illegal Hispanic workers early this year to the new contract with Adidas and the push for a Chicano Studies department at UW.

Wartella said that despite measures to make the university more responsible in it’s hiring policies, money can get in the way.

“Money is not an easy problem, but we still have to treat people with respect,” she said.

Mostly, Wartella wanted to make clear that she wants to stand as a fair liason between the needs of all constituents.

“No group is 100 percent right all of the time,” she said. “We have to figure out ways to compromise.”

Dave Garza, a UW junior who was in attendance of one of Wartella’s question/answer sessions Wednesday, said he was impressed by her willingness to work with all interests.

“It seems like she needs to get a feel for UW,” he said. “But she is going to be dedicated to students and listen to their concerns.”

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