Monday, April 25, 2011
Everyone is telling me it’s a wonderful idea to split the UW-Madison from the UW System, turn it into a public authority, and let Biddy and her pals guide the world-class institution into a bright new future. I just don’t see it.
In the Sunday paper, even Barry Alvarez, the finest football coach that ever trod the sidelines at Camp Randall, is telling me that Biddy’s plan is a good one. Coach made a lot of sports analogies in his prominently-placed letter, issuing forth platitudes like “Biddy put together a good game-plan” and complete nonsense like “what if the UW-Madison couldn’t compete with anyone except other schools in the UW System” , trying, I’m sure, to whip up support among the shallow thinkers and curry favor with his “boss.”
Last Thursday Isthmus Publisher Vince O’Hern used his “Making The Paper” column as a vehicle to promote the split, writing like a country boy’s first visit to the big city, talking about “the university’s massiveness” and “size and density”, concluding with “No offense to other colleges and universities in the state, but the UW is playing in a whole different league.” Agreed, but far from convinced.
Madison Magazine columnist John Roach posted something on a social media site last week with similar musings about the UW-Madison’s “global brand”, which engendered a lively string of informed comments and well-reasoned arguments against the split, but John was not to be deterred.
I respect and value the comments and thoughts of the people listed above, but having my feet in both worlds….the “UW-System world” and the “UW-Madison world”…I still, respectfully, disagree. Way back when the merger of the Madison world and the “state-schools” world happened in the early 70’s, Madison was clearly in another league. The merger was done for reasons which I believe are still valid.
Among the many reasons I remain opposed to the spin-off is that I don’t think Biddy has a clearly-articulated vision for where UW-Madison is, in 20 years; that much of what she claims she wants to accomplish by separating from the “state schools” can be done within the existing structure; and that if the UW-Madison becomes its own entity, it will quickly be priced out-of-reach for far too many Wisconsin kids – like mine – who were smart enough to get into UW-Madison and could still manage to afford it.
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 9:40 AM