While striving to be a voice for students at University of Wisconsin, The Badger Herald Editorial Board works to direct student attention at important ongoing issues within the city, campus and state. In reviewing the past semester, we decided to hand out a few awards.

While they might be a little biased, or a little rude, these moments from this past semester are the most award worthy of them all.

The Conquering College Award: #TheRealUW

Nothing has rocked UW more in recent years than #TheRealUW.

Sparked by UW administration’s lackluster responses to hate and bias incidents, marginalized students got the word out themselves. Using #TheRealUW on social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter, students proved that hate on this campus is not only isolated but systemic — racism is expressed by students and faculty alike.

Voices of UW: ‘These stories are critical in describing what it really feels like to be a marginalized student on UW’s campus’In light of recent events of hate and bias on the University of Wisconsin campus, students have been using #TheRealUW Read…

Hashtags trending on social media — think #ItooamUW — have shed light on microaggressions at UW before, but #TheRealUW is different. Not only is this movement revealing hateful microaggressions, it’s instigating change. Would Chancellor Rebecca Blank have signed mandatory cultural competency training for all administration without #TheRealUW? The answer: definitely not.

Blank agrees to cultural competency training for UW administrationAfter a push from Associate Students of Madison leaders to increase administration cultural competency, Chancellor Rebecca Blank agreed to begin administration training Read…

This isn’t a passing trend either. Since the incident that sparked the hashtag, which occurred on March 13, #TheRealUW has dominated our news scene, has been reported on nationally, inspired dozens of letters to the editor and proved, if nothing else, there is a serious problem at UW.

UW First Wave scholar subjected to hateful language, spit on face in campus dormThree University of Wisconsin students who live in Sellery Hall reported that a resident assaulted them out of hate and Read…

And with that, for taking over this university’s hearts and minds, we give #TheRealUW the Conquering College Award.

Award Withheld: UW’s privileged masses 

This was a semester marred by numerous instances of hate and bias.

From the taping of swastikas to a Jewish student’s dorm room door, to multiple instances of vandalism, stereotypical “war chants” at a Native American community gathering for victims of sexual assault and most recently, anti-Semitic graffiti on and off campus, UW has been forced to acknowledge a reality we’ve been sweeping under the rug: systemic racial issues exist here.

Police charge one anti-Semitic graffiti suspect with hate crimesPolice charged the apparent leader of a group of three suspects, Timothy Arnold, with at least three charges of graffiti following Read…

While UW as a campus community is finally beginning to recognize these issues, we still have a long way to go to address them.

It’s on every single one of us to educate ourselves on these issues, to act as advocates within our own social circles and spheres of influence and to end racism and bigotry where they are accessible to us — among our friend groups and peer networks.

It’s time for UW campus to own up to its race problemThis isn’t a new issue, but it’s time people start paying attention to it. Numerous occurrences of hate, including the swastika incident in Read…

It’s good to recognize these are real issues, but more must be done. Because there has yet to be measurable progress from students in addressing these systemic racial issues, we have chosen to withhold an award for UW’s privileged masses.

The Firing Blanks Award: Board of Regents

Nearly a year after tenure was removed from state statute, drastically weakening it while broadening the grounds on which tenured faculty members can be fired, UW finally has a provision in place to re-extend protection to faculty members.

Controversial tenure provisions become reality as Gov. Walker signs budgetGov. Scott Walker’s signature on Wisconsin’s 2015-17 state budget made law the sweeping changes to tenure, along with shared governance, Read…

To try to restore some of the protections that were removed by the state in July 2015, the UW System created a task force to create new tenure policies. In their March meeting, the Board of Regents voted to accept system-wide policy changes that allow for faculty termination by the discretion of each UW System school’s administration, which some professors dubbed “fake tenure.”

UW System to see changes to tenure policy after Board of Regents voteThe University of Wisconsin System’s tenure policies will shift to what some professors have dubbed “fake tenure” after a Board of Regents Read…

Then, the Board of Regents approved of UW-Madison-specific tenure policies at their April meeting, following months of heated discussion about how to toe the line between adhering to the state Legislature and maintaining the academic freedoms of faculty members. The policy changes allow UW administration to lay off faculty members for program and budget changes, while also outlining procedures for termination. It also still allows for UW researchers to continue openly inquiring into topics, without fear of repercussions, according to Blank’s blog post.

Board of Regents approves UW-Madison specific tenure policiesThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted Friday to approve layoff and post-tenure review policy changes on campus. The policy Read…

For continually falling short on expanding university-specific tenure, and still ultimately failing to shield UW faculty and researchers from the chopping block, we award the Board of Regents the Firing Blanks Award.

The Zombie Award: Voter ID

Voter ID is the gift that keeps on giving.

After Gov. Scott Walker first signed the law in 2011, a legal shitshow ensued almost immediately. The confusing back-and-forth even featured a brief appearance from the U.S. Supreme Court, which temporarily blocked the legislation in 2014.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks implementation of Wisconsin voter ID lawThe U.S. Supreme Court has blocked implementation of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, reversing an appeals court decision that had reinstated Read…

The judicial and partisan brawls were so drawn-out that this year’s spring primary marked the first statewide election with the voter ID requirement.

It appears the measure has yet to stop any malicious criminals hell-bent on destroying democracy via in-person voter fraud (probably because they don’t exist). In an ironic — but totally expected — twist, it did enable democracy’s diminishment by disenfranchising Democratic-leaning populations, including students, which, according to U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Campbellsport, was the legislation’s original intention in the first place.

A look at the ‘voter suppression’ that occurred at pollsThough the Wisconsin spring presidential primary has come and gone, many are still concerned with the “voter suppression” that occurred Read…

It’s great to know that nearly five years and a decent chunk of taxpayer dollars went toward defending a law literally designed to suppress otherwise eligible voters.

For this voter ID measure’s tendency to resurrect when it should have just stayed dead, we award voter ID the Zombie Award.

The Bern is Catching Award: Walker and the rest of Wisconsin’s Legislature

What a time to be a tuition-paying college student in Wisconsin.

On one side we’ve been swamped with prophecies of national free college brought to us by a somewhat messiah-esque U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont. On the other side, we’ve got good old Walker and the rest of Wisconsin’s Legislature hopping on the anti-tuition bandwagon.

One of the state Legislature’s grand schemes is to introduce the “Wisconsin Promise,” which would give in-state students an all-expenses paid trip to a college degree courtesy of the state’s bank account.

As peachy as that sounds, the catch is that the student must be employed within three months after graduation to receive this funding. Sure, nothing is ever really free, but to drop an entire collegiate career’s worth of debt on a student who can’t find a job within about 90 days after graduation doesn’t sound terribly “promising.”

And like a new age Henry Ford and his assembly line, Walker’s big idea is to reduce the price of higher education by reducing the time students spend gaining a degree. This high efficiency education would focus more on training students for the workforce instead of teaching them how to think, essentially turning the UW System into the Technical College of Wisconsin System.

These are the college affordability bills Walker just signed into lawGov. Scott Walker signed most of his college affordability package into law Monday. The first law will increase funding for grants Read…

It’s not hard to see the state has a ways to go in terms of solving the myth of college affordability, but at least we’re going somewhere. And for that, we give Walker and the rest of Wisconsin’s Legislature the Bern is Catching Award.

The Never Change Award: Mifflin Block Party

Year in and year out, rain or shine, students come out and join in the yearly conglomeration that is Mifflin. The beer, the mud, the music and, of course, the obligatory selfie with a police officer patrolling the party.

Despite Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval stating earlier he wanted to help bring an end to the yearly block party, Mifflin raged on. The fact of the matter is Mifflin is going to happen every year, whether Koval and MPD want it or not.

Rain or shine, this year’s Mifflin a muddy grindDespite showers and muddy backyards, more than 3,500 students and visitors descended on Mifflin Street for this year’s rendition of Read…

The best way for MPD to handle Mifflin is to do what they did last year and this year. They kept people from harming themselves or others, while still allowing students of UW to have a good time. Mifflin will never die; Mifflin will never change.

So, for never changing, come rain, come shine or come a higher police presence, we give the Mifflin Block Party the Never Change Award, because Mifflin, you’re beautiful the way you are.