Walker backs off removing 'Wisconsin Idea' from UW mission
MADISON - A day after laying out his budget proposal, Governor Scott Walker is already changing his tune on one idea.The proposal, which the governor did not talk about during his budget address, called for changes to the "Wisconsin Idea.” It was written in 1904 as a guiding principal, or mission, for the UW-System.Late Wednesday afternoon, the governor's office explained that the proposed changes were actually an error.UWGB Professor Emeritus David Littig says any changes Govenor Walker would make to the Wisconsin Idea would be huge.“He is really totally attacking in many ways the core principal of the University of Wisconsin System,” said Littig.Walker included changes to the Wisconsin Idea in his budget. The budget eliminates phrases like "extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses" and "serve and stimulate society." Walker's budget adds a phrase that reads the mission of the system is to develop human resources "to meet the state's workforce needs."In the late afternoon statement, Walker's press secretary said, “The Wisconsin Idea will continue to thrive. This was a drafting error. The final version of the budget will include the Wisconsin Idea."Walker did talk about his vision for the UW System during a stop in Lawrence.“Learning is important, but ultimately it's most important for people to get the chance to get the education they need to succeed in the workforce and in life,” said Walker.Lawmakers from both sides say they were surprised to hear of possible changes to the Wisconsin Idea. However, some of those lawmakers along with the UW-System's president say they are happy no changes are on the way.