The past four months have been one of the most memorable semesters at the University of Wisconsin in history. The Badger Herald Editorial Board would like to take this opportunity to present our awards to those people and places which have risen above the rest.

The Great Deceptor Award: UHS

Remember when the University of Wisconsin had an actual meningitis B epidemic this semester? We do.

Remember those neato little slips of paper we got along with our band-aids and high fives after getting vaccinated, saying we were due for another injection in 30 days? So do we.

Remember thinking that UHS would see us through until we were fully vaccinated in order to completely defeat this evil menace-gitis? Yeah, us too.

UW gave students false impression about process of receiving second round of Meningitis B shotThe fact that the University of Wisconsin is not following up the initial round of the meningitis vaccination shots is Read…

Well now that we’re all due for our second injection, UHS seems to have flown the coop on us, but apparently, the fine print said that we were never getting that second, crucial injection.

In all fairness, UW doesn’t shoulder the blame alone. It wasn’t until late into the first round of vaccines that UHS was aware it wouldn’t be able to offer the second shot due to lack of funding.

But despite mass emailing the parental undergraduate list in mid-November with the news, no formal announcement was made to the student body, blindsiding students when they finally realized they wouldn’t be able to get the second round at UHS en masse.

It’s not UHS’s fault that they didn’t have the funding to provide the vaccines, but they should have been upfront with students about it.

UW students encouraged to get second meningitis vaccination elsewhereInstead of relying on University Health Services to provide the required second dosage for the meningitis vaccine, UHS is asking Read…

Because of their collective amnesia when it came to alerting students about where to get their second vaccine, we award UHS the Great Deceptor Award.

It (Hopefully) Won’t Happen Here Award: Madison Police Department

In an age where police-community relations are volatile, the Madison Police Department has been prompted to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of officers and the public.

As of Oct. 3, MPD officers no longer had the option of disregarding backup, according to internal memos obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Previously, the first officer to arrive at the scene was able to check out the situation and unilaterally call off backup. But now, unless someone at the scene is in imminent danger, the first officer must wait for backup to arrive before investigating, as reported by the State Journal.

While this protocol would arguably increase response time and slow down officers as more calls come in, given the killings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana over the summer, it’s a logical and obvious response.

This would protect community members too by having more boots on the ground during any incident.

For this clear-headed call by police Chief Mike Koval, and the police department’s adaptability in internalizing the new procedures, we award MPD the It (Hopefully) Won’t Happen Here Award, as they work to maintain public – and officer – safety.

The “Punting-it” Award: Chancellor Rebecca Blank

First of all, let’s call it a lynching.

Calling the racist display at the Oct. 29 football game against Nebraska a “noose incident” might help UW administration sleep a little better at night when they reflect upon their choice to protect two bigots’ freedom of hateful expression over the emotional health of students of color. Once again, they were reminded with harsh force of their status as second-class citizens on campus.

Football fan in President Obama mask exercising freedom of speech, chancellor saysA fan in a mask of President Barack Obama with a noose around their neck at the Badger’s football game Read…

That was not a costume. That was intention to intimidate, to instill fear and shame.

The era of new Jim Crow is not exclusive to the deep south — apparently, it lives and breathes in Camp Randall too.

For UW officials to deem such a blatantly offensive costume as appropriate per stadium policies, so long as the noose was removed, is reprehensible. The dangerous precedent set by this decision cannot be reversed by a sheepish apology from Chancellor Rebecca Blank a week later, nor by revoking a pair of season tickets.

Blank apologizes for handling of Camp Randall noose incidentAt Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Chancellor Rebecca Blank apologized for the University of Wisconsin’s response to an incident involving a Read…

The wound is deep, comes at a time when students are already questioning their safety and worth on campus, and will take much longer to heal than it did to inflict.

If administration wants to convince anybody that their apology came from a place of genuine regret and not just mounting pressure to erase a mistake, they need to use this incident as a lesson to never again allow UW to be a university where the line between free speech and hate speech blurs.

Otherwise, they should anticipate students of color using their freedom of expression to express just what little respect their institution has for them.

For Blank’s cowardice to proactively denounce racism, we award her the Punting-It Award.

The Sore Loser Award: Wisconsin Presidential Recount

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s eye-roll inducing recount is truly the icing on the 2016 election cycle cake.

When Stein announced she would be filing for a recount in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan – three states key to President-elect Donald Trump’s victory – in light of rather dubious, conveniently-timed suspicions of hacking, it was more than a little facepalm worthy.

In photos: Dane County begins election recountThe Wisconsin Elections Commission officially kicked off recount efforts in Dane County Thursday morning. After former Green Party presidential candidate Read…

Election-rigging claims were off-base when Trump, believing he would lose, promoted them and the similar sentiments that permeate Stein’s recount remain just as off-base.

There’s no evidence to suggest widespread voter fraud, hacking or anything else that would delegitimize the election results.

But while the recount is redundant and a bit evidence-challenged, it’s at least dumb on its own dime.

If Stein really felt the need to double-check a completely legitimate election process and was willing to put up the $3.5 million to do it, who would waste additional time and resources trying to block it? Enter Trump supporters.

Here’s what to expect from Wisconsin’s ballot recountOnly two days before the Wisconsin ballot recount is scheduled to begin, former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein sued Read…

The recount saga somehow became even more headache-inducing as two Republican-leaning PACs and an individual Wisconsin voter filed a federal lawsuit Dec. 2 attempting to halt the process.

While their argument that the recount violated the constitution’s equal protection requirements fell flat in court, one has to wonder why Trump supporters even bothered. After all, for reasons stated above, the recount would only reaffirm Trump’s win.

Instead of staying out of the fray and letting the results expose the recount’s own redundancies, Trump supporters decided to make themselves look equally ridiculous.

The only thing that sucks more than Trump winning the 2016 election is him winning the 2016 election twice.

For being the pinnacle of childish partisan politics, we award the Wisconsin presidential recount the prestigious Sore Loser Award.

Fair Weather Advocate Award: UW Campus

Remember those two glorious weeks we all talked openly and honestly about sexual assault? Those were the days.

The weeks following the arrest of University of Wisconsin student Alec Cook, campus found itself in shock. Terrified that a student, a classmate, a friend could be accused of such horrible (and so many) acts, the university was forced to truly address this campus’ issue with sexual assault. This didn’t mean administrators could just sit back and say, “Well, we offer the Tonight Program,” whenever asked about sexual assault. This meant taking action. This meant empowerment.

Ravings of a future stay-at-home dad: On Alec Cook’s lawyerThe recent revelations surrounding alleged — man, do I hate using that word — sexual assaulter and strangler Alec Cook Read…

By placing Cook on emergency suspension almost immediately following his arrest, university administrators sent a strong and reassuring to the campus. Students began talking candidly about sexual assault. There was no victim blaming. No skeptical eye rolling. Just listening and acceptance.

Sadly, this was short lived. As Cook’s name faded out of the national and campus spotlight, so did the important conversations about sexual assault and consent.

Sexual assault is an epidemic that’s not going to go away. Our campus cannot just talk about rape when it makes headlines.

Reporting sexual assault, holding men accountable are critical in dismantling rape cultureAt some point in her life, nearly every woman you know has been told by a man who is either Read…

For its short attention span and privileged ignorance, we award UW campus the Fair Weather Advocate Award.

The Make Democracy Great Again Award: Panel of Federal Judges

A panel of federal judges in November did the seemingly unthinkable: deem the Wisconsin Legislature’s 2011 redistricting of the state Assembly an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

It’s a bold and never before seen move in the sphere of election law. Courts have previously ruled against gerrymandering on the basis of race, but never for favoring a political party, the tacitly implied advantage parties get for gaining power.

The case could now head to the Supreme Court, whose decision could have a noticeable impact on congressional and state elections nationwide.

Court rules Republican redistricting map unconstitutionalA panel of federal judges ruled Wisconsin Republicans’ 2011 state Assembly redistricting plans “unconstitutionally gerrymandered” to expand their majority and Read…

To some extent, gerrymandering serves as a less than ideal, yet tolerable by-product of a two-party democracy — voters are not distributed evenly across districts according to party preference. But it’s clear that Wisconsin proves to be a notable exception: the 12 Wisconsin state Democrats serving as plaintiffs in the case argue that in the 2012 state Assembly election, Wisconsin Republicans won 48.6 percent of the two-party vote but took 61 percent of the Assembly’s 99 seats.

With such a disparity, there is no question that Democrats have a disadvantage. What is more troubling is the implication for Wisconsin voters, whose voices are effectively prevented from being fairly recognized.

This federal court ruling allowed Republicans and Democrats 30 days to offer their solutions for how to move forward. While any solutions won’t eliminate partisan gerrymandering, we can hope it will be reduced.

The fact that Wisconsin is seeing the highest level of GOP representation in state government in decades might not be troubling if state lawmakers’ elections actually represent the votes of the people. Gerrymandering, however, has severely skewed the people’s voice.

The integrity of our state government can only be restored if the people’s will is along with it.

For its upholding of fair elections, we award the panel of federal judges the Make Democracy Great Again Award.