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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


The semester that was: Spring 2023 recap

The Badger Herald staff picks top stories from last semester
Sophia Scolman

Our news team compiled a summary of last semester’s biggest stories. Read on to learn about the new Bus Rapid Transit System, increased Multicultural Student Association programming and President Biden’s visit to the Madison area.


UW student facilitates MENA Heritage Month return to campus for the first time since 2018


University of Wisconsin student Dana Tabaza organized nine events throughout March to recognize Middle Eastern North African Heritage Month — which last took place on campus in 2018.

Tabaza said she felt frustrated with the lack of MENA representation at UW and decided to take matters into her own hands by organizing the event. In collaboration with the Multicultural Student Association, Tabaza created the MENA Heritage Month Planning Collective, which was made up of 40 students from 16 different student organizations, in order to set the plan in motion.

Madison Common Council rejects housing development proposal, preserves affordable housing

“The concept behind it, is we want people who are MENA or non-MENA to come to these events and to see this part of the world through our eyes because our part of the world is extremely misunderstood and has tons of negative media coverage around it consistently, especially from the west,” Tabaza said. “We wanted this to be an opportunity for the campus to see our identities through our eyes and away from all these misconceptions that you see online.”

Tabaza is confident that MENA Heritage Month celebrations will become an annual event, and she now serves as UW’s first-ever MENA Cultural Programming Intern.

Blk Power Coalition organizes hundreds of students in call to action gathering in response to racist student video 

After a video of a University of Wisconsin student using racial slurs surfaced in early May, Black students from various campus communities created the Blk Power Coalition, which organized a silent demonstration, delivered demands to the Office of Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin and led a campus-wide demonstration to support UW’s Black community.

The Blk Power Coalition gathered hundreds of supporters at the base of Bascom Hill, leading them to Library Mall where leaders and community members spoke and played music. Students then turned onto Lake Street and then University Avenue, before marching back down Bascom Hill.

UW researchers awarded ISEI grant to research post-sexual assault care services for underrepresented groups

The demonstration followed Mnookin’s response to the Blk Power Coalition’s demands, which were delivered to her personally the day prior outside of her office inside Bascom Hall. Demands included a public apology from campus officials, academic accommodations for affected students, an investigation into the expulsion of the student in the video and more. 

“Don’t give up on us, this is not over after today,” one student at the demonstration said. “Today is about joy. Yesterday was a lot of hard feelings, a lot of hard stuff that had to be said, but today is about celebrating us and the Black people on this campus.”


City launches Metro bus line redesign to transition Madison to Bus Rapid Transit System

Though University of Wisconsin bus routes will remain unchanged, improved routes from the outskirts of Madison aim to decrease disparities in transportation for commuters — specifically people of color. 

“…We’ve had concerns through the years that people of color have to transfer more and that their trips are longer, especially on the far reaches of town,” Metro Transit Marketing Manager Mick Rusch said. “So we are addressing those concerns and one other big thing is that we are getting routes ready for our bus rapid transit system, which is coming next year.”

The redesign, which launched June 11, is the first major change made to Madison bus routes since 1998, Rusch said.

The new routes will allow residents to travel across town without transferring buses, Rusch said. 

Bus lines, aside from routes 80 through 84, will be referred to by letters instead of numbers. There will also be fewer total lines, though the remaining lines will be much more efficient, allowing Metro Transit to operate at full capacity for the first time since 2019, Rusch said.

Oliv apartments erected off State street to designate 10% of units as affordable housing

The 10-story Oliv apartment building is slated to open this fall on the corner of Gorham and State Street, reserving more than 100 out of 386 beds for moderate to low-income students. 

According to University of Wisconsin professor of Urban Planning Kurt Paulsen, Madison is currently 11,000 units behind what would be needed to address the city’s housing crisis

The project’s steering committee said this development is not meant solely as a business venture, but a good-faith step towards increasing affordable housing for Madison’s student population, according to their 2021 report.

GOP legislators announce funding cuts to UW System DEI funds

Though anyone can rent the low-income units, students with qualifying financial need will be given priority, Campus Area Neighborhood Association President Eli Tsarovsky said. After applying for a lease at Oliv, interested students should obtain a letter demonstrating financial need from UW’s Office of Student Financial Aid.

Paulsen predicts that increasing affordable housing downtown, and transition to the Bus Rapid Transit System, which should allow students to live farther away from campus, should ease the housing struggles currently plaguing the Madison community.


Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Republican legislature find middle ground on shared revenue plan

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Republican leaders reached an agreement at the beginning of June regarding a bill outlining the future plan for shared revenue — tax revenue that can be used largely without restriction by Wisconsin municipalities.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a statement that the compromise expands shared revenue benefits to Milwaukee County, though it requires funds to be allocated to law enforcement and K-12 schools statewide. 

“…The bill guarantees that new state revenue may only be used for police, fire, and EMS services,” Speaker Vos continued, “and for the thousands of parents in the School Choice program who are worried about the ability of their child to continue receiving a fair education, we’re proud to say the program will grow, thrive and prosper,” Vos said. 

According to a statement from Gov. Evers, the agreement will allocate $1 billion spendable revenue to K-12 schools, in addition to $30 million and $50 million in funding for K-12 mental health services and literacy efforts in public schools, respectively.

Madison community leaders honor Juneteenth with flag raised over City Hall

President Biden visits Madison area after State of Union address

Following his State of the Union address at the beginning of February, President Joe Biden spoke to trade workers at the LIUNA Training Center in Deforest, Wisconsin, where he echoed sentiments expressed in his address and highlighted the strength of the American economy.

Biden said 12 million new jobs have been created under his administration, inflation rates decreased and the U.S. sits at a 50-year low for unemployment levels.

“Folks, I hate to disappoint them, but the Biden economic plan is working,” Biden said.”

Biden also mentioned improvements in the Madison area including the move to the Bus Rapid Transit System which will increase job opportunities to residents.

In his address and during his appearance in Wisconsin, Biden emphasized the importance of the middle class to the nation’s economy, saying he aims to build the economy from the middle-out and bottom-up.

“I have never been more optimistic about America’s future than I am today,” Biden said.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, University of Wisconsin Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan and District 8 Alder Julianna Bennet were also in attendance at the event.

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