Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


The Editorial Board grades the fall 2011 semester

Once again, it’s been a semester to remember. From continued fallout from this spring’s protests to upheaval in student government to life after Biddy, our campus, city and state have had a hell of a few months. Some players have stood out for their contributions – or lack thereof – to the chaos. Below are our grades for their efforts.


Interim Chancellor David Ward – C+


Interim Chancellor David Ward is OK. He shows up; he keeps the University of Wisconsin afloat.

But when we compare Ward to former Chancellor Biddy Martin, all we can muster is a “meh.” Ward’s voice has cropped up at Faculty Senate and Board of Regents meetings, but without any driving force. On student issues, we don’t hear him at all.

Ward may be an interim chancellor, but that doesn’t mean he should act like one. UW needs an omnipresent leader who can pull everyone together while simultaneously pushing for the major changes the university needs to progress.

Board of Regents – D

When Gov. Scott Walker’s budget demanded steep cuts to the University of Wisconsin System, the Regents vowed they would not sit idly by while higher education was attacked. When UW’s chancellor resigned after plans for greater independence from the System failed, the Regents claimed a fairer systemwide plan was on the way. When UW was left searching for leadership, the Regents said a new chancellor was already being sought out. When further budget cuts to the System were put forth, the Regents said they would tackle the issue head-on.

Feel free to start anytime, guys.

Associated Students of Madison

Student Judiciary – A

Student Judiciary is the Associated Students of Madison’s overachiever, tying the record for the most decisions made in a semester. Not only did they have to repeatedly deal with the complaints of the MultiCultural Student Coalition, but they tackled the constitutionality of the funding cap waiver and the removal of Student Council’s vice chair. It’s good to see at least one branch did their homework and came to class prepared. This semester, Student Judiciary has proven they are the only fully functional branch of ASM. Bravo!

Leg Affairs – C

Legislative Affairs has earned one of the highest honors an ASM committee can receive: acknowledgment of its mere existence. The committee has focused on issues central to students’ lives, most prominently education on tenant rights on the heels of a law doing away with Madison’s unique ordinances protecting renters.

And though much was done to inform students on new voter ID laws, taking some of the credit for a largely UW System plan for student voting IDs is lazy. The work was much appreciated, but a little more effort is needed next semester.

Student Services Finance Committee – B

For this semester, Student Services Finance Committee gets a B. Their first major flub was handing out waivers only one week before they were due, a move that made them seem unhelpful and adversarial. It also started the MultiCultural Student Coalition’s semester-long crusade against them. However, no one can say Rep. Cale Plamann didn’t try to offer the olive branch. At least SSFC didn’t let the debacle tear them apart and keep them from accomplishing anything the rest of the semester. And how can we really penalize them any further – their coworkers on Student Council are doing a good enough job of it as it is.

Student Council – Incomplete

If we could give this Student Council session a Z, we would: An F just isn’t enough. But instead, we’ve decided to give the most fitting evaluation available for this year’s especially disastrous session: incomplete.

Student Council has done nothing this semester but fight amongst themselves. Ever since the early-semester announcement that Vice Chair Beth Huang would be expelled from student government, an already highly political body became deadlocked, making Congress’ debt ceiling debate look competent in comparison. For fuck’s sake, they couldn’t even elect a new vice chair before the end of this semester.

This Student Council has, at the very least, exposed some of the most serious flaws with ASM’s constitution. But that’s no excuse for going an entire semester without managing to appoint a new vice chair.


Mayor Paul Soglin – F

When Paul Soglin left the blogosphere to run for a third stint as mayor of Madison, you could almost hear the city’s old faithful singing a song of pure joy. Many citizens had become disillusioned with then-Mayor Dave Cieslewicz’s perceived favors to the business community, and they promptly voted Soglin in to office.

Then the tantrums came. From drastically slashing the budget for the Edgewater to railing against his once-beloved Mifflin Street Block Party to threatening to veto the entire Capitol budget if his one pet-project study did not make it in, Soglin proved one thing this term: It’s his way or the highway. As a blogger, being a bit of a bully is a great trait. As a mayor, it earns him an F for “works poorly with others.”

Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8 – A+

Pick a city issue relevant to most students at the university. Did you think of the Mifflin Street Block Party? The nuisance party ordinance? How about tenant legislation? Whether you thought of one of those issues or one not listed, it’s safe to say Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, knows all about it, and he’s got your back. As Madison’s student alder, Resnick not only represents students, but he defends them vocally and passionately both in and out of the council chambers. We students are lucky to have Resnick, an A+ alder.


Legislators – D

In a bipartisan effort, this board was able to reach across the figurative aisle, shake hands and agree that Republicans and Democrats alike this semester receive an almost-failing grade. Both parties have exhibited an unfailing inability to work together or even participate in civilized debate without digressing into tantrums and shouting matches, as best evidenced by Rep. Peggy Krusick’s, D-Milwaukee, amendment debacle. 

Republicans have used their legislative and executive majority to walk in a single-minded lock-step, whereas Democrats have proven too incompetent to organize against their conservative compatriots. Until both parties can learn to be in the same room with each other, they get a 1.0 GPA.

Protesters – D-

Madison is rightfully proud of its heritage as a protest town. Throughout the last half-century, local activists have protested the Vietnam War, corporate sweatshop activity, the stripping of collective bargaining rights, the curbing of voting rights and, for the last couple of months, absolutely nothing.

What began as a highly focused, legitimate movement has become a beer-pouring and petitioner-harassing embarrassment to Madison and the entire state of Wisconsin. A small group of disruptive protesters continue to “occupy” the Capitol, hurting the progressive movement for which they claim to fight.

Reasonable liberals have pragmatically devoted their attention to the efforts to recall Walker, but the presence of these overzealous protesters continues to be an annoyance to visitors and Madisonians alike. They’re not effective. At all.

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