There is really no question about what the most controversial and hard-hitting issue on the UW-Madison campus is these days. From protests to funding-requests, minority and majority students alike have expressed interest in increasing diversity on campus. This week The Badger Herald will outline the seven stated goals of Plan 2008, the system-wide initiative to increase diversity at UW schools across the state.
Generation 2008, a student-initiated group focusing on accomplishing Plan 2008 goals, has named accountability as its seventh, but not least important, goal.
Accountability, according to Generation 2008, is important in making sure UW-Madison administrators implement the other six goals. It is also important, they said, to make sure students are aware of the plan and are themselves working to keep UW accountable.
“In general, on a campus-wide level, Plan 2008 isn’t a very high priority,” said Andrea Wise, a member of Generation 2008 and an intern for Paul Barrows, UW vice chancellor for student affairs. “The students are not aware of anything going on, [and] accountability has not been institutionalized.”
Wise, along with other members of Generation 2008, are making student awareness a priority. On Oct. 13 at 11:30 a.m., the group, along with the Associated Students of Madison Diversity Committee and the ASM Plan 2008 Campaign, is holding a student forum at the Pyle Center for the cause of education and awareness.
“Students are going to be able to look at their own level of awareness and apply [it],” Wise said.
Wise hopes eventually students, faculty members and the UW administration will be able to check each other to make sure Plan 2008 is implemented and working.
According to Paul Barrows and Deborah Brandt, co-chairs of the Plan 2008 Oversight Committee, accountability is already in full force.
“It’s reflected in annual reports and performance reviews,” Barrows said.
Brandt said accountability still needs improvement, but said her committee is doing what it can to make that happen.
“The Oversight Committee is actually a part of that function,” she said. “[It’s here to] keep an eye and pressure on the administration to make sure every year we get further and further toward those goals.”
Brandt said there are at least five subcommittees who act as watchdogs to make sure Plan 2008 gets the job done.
“I share with [Generation 2008] a feeling of impatience and that these things are going glacially slow,” she said. “But I do believe there are accountability measures in place.”
She said there are open lines of communication between her committee and the chancellor’s office and that diversity has become a key factor in hiring policies and the recruiting and retaining of minority students.
Brandt said part of this accountability is noted in the annual report the Board of Regents received from top UW officials Thursday.
Brandt also said individual students play a large role in keeping UW-Madison accountable.
“Accountability has to be with every single person on this campus,” she said. “So we’re making progress, but we have a ways to go. We need to continue to add initiative and make sure the things we are doing have the right impact.”