The Badger Herald
A small group panel quizzed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke on her views on education in Wisconsin, the school choice voucher program and student financial aid and debt at a Monday roundtable.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the newly elected president of the National Education Association and first Latina women to head the organization, joined Burke for the Women in Leadership: Education Roundtable at Memorial Union Monday afternoon.
The panel consisted of Sue Howe, a former Monona Grove high school teacher; Heather DuBois Bourenane, a Sun Prairie parent and grassroots organizer; and Briana Schwabenbauer, a student in University of Wisconsin’s School of Education.
“Education is one of the most important issues in this race,” Burke said. “Gov. Walker and I have two very different perspectives on public education and these are things that I talk about everyday as I travel throughout the state.”
Howe and DuBois Bourenane asked Burke to give her opinion on private voucher programs, referring to Walker’s proposal to expand School Choice initiatives by raising taxpayer support that could come out of state support for public schools.
Burke said people should turn away from the ideological warfare of private versus public schooling.
“Let’s talk dollars and cents then,” she said. “The cost of a statewide expansion of vouchers that is not income based is $1.2 billion dollars a year and that’s assuming only 10 percent of public school students enroll in the program. That is $2.8 million dollars per school district in Wisconsin and not many schools can afford losing that amount of money.”
Schwabenbauer, the UW student on the panel, expressed a passion for teaching, but also addressed her concern about entering a career in education.
As both a student and a future teacher, she asked Burke about the impact of rising student loan debt and the increasing cost of a college education.
Burke said she put forth several concrete proposals. Firstly, she proposes making student loan payments tax deductible.
Secondly, she mentioned increasing the tuition and fee tax deduction while in school. She also proposed increasing the income limit on which those payments are tax deductible as a way to reach out to higher income families with more than one child receiving higher education.
Burke also said she would implement a student loan refinancing authority. Many people across the state with outstanding student loans would then be able to refinance those at a lower rate, she said.
If people are paying interest between 6-8 percent, but the state can borrow at 3 percent it makes sense to allow people to refinance that loan, she said.
“Every dollar that that person is saving can be spent in the economy,” Burke said. “I’ve heard the stories of young people delaying things like buying a car or buying a house because they’re strapped with student debt.”
Those are things she said she would do immediately, but she also said she would increase the amount of financial aid that is allocated in the state budget. Burke said right now, under Walker, about 41,000 people are eligible for need-based aid who aren’t receiving it.
Walker froze tuition costs for two straight years and has expressed an intention to continue to do so, and Burke said his approach puts too much pressure on the university.
Walker calls for additional two-year tuition freezeGov. Scott Walker called for another two year tuition freeze at the University of Wisconsin System Friday morning after projections …badgerherald.com
She said Walker’s approach would lead to cuts of expenses that could affect the availability of course curriculum or the ability to hire faculty.
“When students think about tuition freezes as a long-term basis as a way to hold down higher education costs, they have to understand what’s going to come out of the quality of education that they’re getting right now,” she said.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have discovered a link between insects and antibiotics that has lead to the development of new medicine.
The project, which is a collaborative effort between SMPH and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, involved observations of ants and other insects done by co-principal investigator Cameron Currie.
Co-principal investigator David Andes, a professor in the Department of Medicine, said Currie’s “breakthrough” research has allowed for the creation of new antibiotics.
“We’re excited because we’ve identified a new source of antibiotics that hasn’t been tapped into, and it appears to be a very rich source,” Andes said.
While a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto, Currie studied the interconnections between microbes and hosts. His research led him to study ant colonies that grow fungus for food and the parasites that attack the ants. While he was doing this work, he said he observed a white coating on the bodies of the ants and he discovered that it was bacteria.
The bacteria Currie found was known to produce antibiotics, which prompted him to investigate whether the ants were using it to develop a resistance to the parasites. He discovered they, and other insects, including beetles and honeybees, were doing the same thing.
And for Currie, investing in basic scientific research is just as important, if not more so, than investing in applied science, which produces a specific result based on a specific question.
“Scientific advancement has been driven by basic science research, of trying to understand our world around us,” he said.
Though the new source of antibiotics discovered appears to be rich, Andes said these antibiotics will lose effectiveness over time. He said bacteria can develop a resistance as quickly as three years after an antibiotic’s development.
But, Andes said the success rate in creating antibiotics with the new source is greater than with past sources.
“The thing that’s unique about antibiotics is resistance comes naturally,” he said.
Nationwide, more than 2 million people annually become infected by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new antibiotics will be used to treat those for whom current antibiotics are ineffective, Andes said, adding that UW Hospital on average sees one patient daily who cannot be treated with current antibiotics.
Dozens of students, faculty and members of the public gathered in the Elvehjem Building Monday to hear author Edmund White speak about his experience in a same-sex marriage and his recent publications.
White, the author of numerous books and professor of creative writing at Princeton University, came to the University of Wisconsin campus to address a wide variety of topics ranging from the changes in gay culture since the 1960s to the challenges of writing for a largely gay audience.
Also featured at the event was author Michael Carroll, a gay fiction writer and White’s husband. Terrace Books, a subsidiary of UW Press published Carroll’s first collection of short fiction, Little Reef and Other Stories, in June 2014.
Part of Carroll’s Little Reef includes short stories loosely based on his two-decade relationship with White.
“Everything is permitted; certainly Michael had permission to write about me,” White said. “I would never try to control someone’s portrait of me.”
White said both men’s families struggled with the pair’s relationship. White’s stepmother went as far as to remove mentions of her stepson from his father’s daily newspapers, he said.
Carroll said his parents seemed okay with their son’s relationship with White, but were shocked when he told them he and White had married.
“I still haven’t gotten my wedding present,” Carroll said.
On the topic of gay marriage, White said he was not thrilled with the idea at first. Originally, he said he thought marriage was too square for gay people, but then he saw how much the Christian right hated it, so he thought it must be a great thing.
White said his views have changed slightly since then, as he now believes gay marriage passing in state after state has been beneficial in helping gay people become accepted into societal norms.
Much of the discussion also revolved around the topic of writing for a gay audience.
“It’s a very intense, very invested group of readers,” White said. “Gay life is this object out there that’s waiting to be written about. A lot of people think we’ve exhausted all the themes of gay fiction, but we’ve just barely touched on them.”
Little Reef and Other Stories, a collection of short stories, depicts life in an America full of prejudice, but more accepting of gay marriage than at any point in its history, Carroll said.
One of the topics addressed in Little Reef is the relationship between gay men and straight women.
“What’s interesting about the relationship between gay men and women is there can be a lot of affection, but there’s a line that you don’t cross,” Carroll said.
White’s newest book, States of Desire Revisited, was published just days ago by the UW Press. The novel, a revisit of his 1980 novel States of Desire: Travels in Gay America, explores the gay liberation movement of the 1970s and includes a summary of the LGBTQ movement in current times.
The discussion, part of the Humanities Without Boundaries lecture series, was hosted by the Center for the Humanities and the University of Wisconsin Press.
At a meeting Monday evening, the Associated Students of Madison Student Services Finance Committee unanimously approved funding for the Working Class Student Union and heard an eligibility presentation from Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment.
According to the WCSU website, the organization provides support for first generation, non-traditional, transfer and working class students. It provides counseling and other services to ensure a safe community exists on campus for those students.
SSFC Rep. James Ng said he believes WCSU promotes creating a safe place for working class students on campus, but he was not entirely sure members of the organization argued that point well. However, he said that doesn’t matter as much since they still meet the eligibility criteria.
SSFC Secretary Brett Ducharme said he considers the WCSU movie night to be a core program as there is exponential learning going on.
“Along with the activity goes the dialogue,” Ducharme said.
The committee ultimately voted 11-0 in favor of WCSU’s eligibility.
SSFC also heard an eligibility presentation from PAVE in its meeting. PAVE helps to prevent sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking through education and activism, according to its website.
Hannah Serwe, the chair of PAVE said it is the only peer-to-peer resource that comprehensively covers these issues and is also the only organization trained in prevention techniques.
“Our workshops encourage community learning,” Serwe said before the committee. “Students are also actively reflecting and participating in various activities.”
She said the educational benefit from PAVE’s workshops is providing intercultural and cross-cultural knowledge and competence.
The organization also puts on three awareness months: Domestic Violence Awareness Month; Stalking Awareness Month; and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Serwe said. These help to advance students’ knowledge regarding violence prevention, she said.
“The events we have during these months are very informative and empowering,” Serwe said.
SSFC Rep. Hoyon Mephokee asked about how they decide on the keynote speakers at events.
Serwe said PAVE brings in nationally-recognized people in the violence prevention society.
Vice Chair Thuy Pham asked whether the three awareness months are part of a bigger movement and if the organization prepares its own materials or if they use those executed at a national level. Serwe said they use original materials for all their events after looking at what is going on nationally.
SSFC will vote on PAVE’s eligibility in its next meeting this Thursday.
Madison is continuing its Organics Collection Pilot Program and expanding funding to include a $120,000 filter on recycling trucks to prevent non-compostable plastic from contaminating organic waste.
Madison Recycling Coordinator George Dreckmann said a new piece of equipment called a trammel screen, which is similar to a sifter one would use for flour, or for sand at the beach, was recently approved for funding by city officials.
This will make it possible for a pilot program that’s been ongoing since 2011 involving the recycling of organic materials to move forward. Dreckmann said the program was supposed to be suspended due to problems with non-compostable plastic getting into the organic materials and prohibited those items from being recycled.
Currently, the organic waste is sent to UW-Oshkosh where it is put through a biodigester to break it down more before it is able to be composted, Dreckmann said. When non-recyclable material is mixed with organic material, he said the equipment won’t work.
“Neither the digester nor the composter we work with are set up to remove contaminants from the material,” Dreckmann said.
The new screen is designed to filter out these contaminants, mostly plastics, which naturally end up in residential material, Dreckmann said.
Mayor Paul Soglin said there is some risk following the purchase of filter. First of all, he said the filter may not work.
“The folks who run the biodigester in Oshkosh may still be unhappy with the quality of the organics even after we use the filter,” Soglin said.
In addition, some have expressed uncertainty as to whether or not the biodigester at UW-Oshkosh will even stay open, according to Soglin.
Even so, Dreckmann said there are plans to add 25 to 30 businesses to the organic waste project as soon as possible. In addition, about 1,600 households are going to be added in the spring of 2015.
Dreckmann said composting is hugely beneficial to the city of Madison, because it allows these organic materials to be used elsewhere after they are decontaminated, as opposed to simply being thrown away. The screen is simply a first step in what many officials and residents hope will eventually become a full-scale and citywide program, he said.
City officials addressed outreach methods to partner with global cities at a Sister City Collaboration Committee meeting Monday.
Each committee member presented ideas they have implemented with Madison’s sister cities as well as plans they have for the future that could improve the city’s culture sharing and world relations.
Jo Oyama-Miller, president of the committee coordinating with Obihiro, Japan, said each city is given a $1,000 budget for interaction and exchange.
Oyama-Miller said Madison hosted several students for about a week. Japan required the students to attend English as a Second Language classes and meet with Japanese business men while staying in Madison, he said.
Diane Farsetta, coordinating with Ainaro, East Timor, said they will have a table at the fair trade holiday festival in December to support the sister city. She said they sell traditional Tais weaving and send the money back to the city. They are also giving a large donation to a doctor who works in East Timor to support maternal and child health, she said, and much of their early work involved fixing up the area after a U.S. occupation ending in 1999.
“Part of our city has been helping with rebuilding and reconstruction after that occupation,” Farsetta said.
Sal Carranza, coordinating with Tepatitlán, Mexico, said a muralist from Madison went in February as a cultural exchange and created a mural in a middle school there. Tepatitlán sent an artist to paint a mural in Madison for about six weeks over the summer as well.
Supporting micro-enterprise, doilies and sweaters made by women in Tepatitlán are sold at festivals here, he said. Carranza said an idea for next year is a cultural exchange of Wisconsin beer and Tepatitlán tequila. Second, he said the University of Wisconsin arboretum has a project called the Earth Partnership.
“We want to connect the elementary school here with the elementary school in Tepatitlán to work together on this project,” Carranza said.
Charles James, secretary of the board, coordinating with Freiburg, Germany, said this sister city was founded in 1987. Freiburg holds a fair for all of their sister cities which Madison will be invited to next summer.
“The former mayor of Freiburg who started the relationship with Madison just turned 80 and so we sent him over a lithograph of Madison, the way it looked in 1850,” James said. “He was very pleased with it.”
Carolyn Gantner, coordinating with Arcatao, El Salvador, said a major project there is creating scholarships to send high school students to college, with a component requiring their return to Arcatao so the community benefits.
Daina Zemliauskas-Juozevicius, coordinating with Vilnius, Lithuania, said there was more of a humanitarian need when the relationship first began in 1989, but now a main goal is cultural exchange. Dignitaries will visit Oct. 13 of this year.
Frank Alfano, coordinating with Mantova, Italy, said the relationship is hosted by Italian Workman’s Club. He said Madison was chosen because it reminded the founder of the sister city relationship from Italy of his mother’s hometown.
The committee concluded as Oyama-Miller announced the date of the upcoming international festival, February 21. The members will register together so their attendance showcases the cultures of their respective sister cities.
Citing a history of inefficient enforcement and racial disparities, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said he supports the idea of legalizing marijuana.
As some serious drug issues are rising in Madison, such as a surge in heroin-related crimes, Koval said he would rather see his force’s energy go toward solving those rather than continuing to pursue controlling marijuana crimes.
“Frankly, I’ve reached that threshold in my professional career, where I realize that the enforcement efforts have proven largely unsuccessful,” Koval said. “It just didn’t work. It wasn’t effective.”
Koval said he would reserve the criminal record for crimes of violence and weapons offenses, rather than for casual possession of marijuana.
Koval cited the failure of the alcohol prohibition effort as an example of how ineffective absolute enforcement can be, saying he can imagine how “overwhelmed” officers felt. Rather than continue to criminalize people, Koval said he would rather see marijuana treated the same as alcohol and tobacco products are.
“I’m not endorsing the use of any of those substances, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, but I have just assumed that it would be heavily regulated and taxed, and that money would be earmarked for other therapeutic interventions or alternatives to incarceration,” Koval said.
As far as the impact on the University of Wisconsin campus, Koval said he believes legalization would not make much of a difference. Depending on the age threshold, he said, the effects should be similar to the impact alcohol has on campus.
With that in mind, Koval said he wants to emphasize that he does consider this a serious matter, regardless of his use of the term “casual.”
The ultimate benefits of marijuana legalization for Wisconsin would be fewer arrests and fewer instances of racial disparities in incarceration, he said. Racial disparity in drug-related offenses in Madison, however, is something Koval said needs to be addressed sooner than later.
“The rate of arrests … for possession of marijuana, as is the case of most possessory drug crimes, is significantly higher for African-American males than it is for the rest of the demographics of our city,” Koval said.
According to an analysis by MPD, about 60 percent of people arrested for drug crimes last year were white. The remaining portion of people arrested were black. In comparison, Madison’s population is 75 percent white and only 7 percent black.
However, Lieutenant Jason Freedman of the Dane County Narcotics and Gang Task Force, said dividing drug crimes up by demographics is not a simple endeavor.
The task force investigates and tracks the sale of narcotics throughout the county, focusing its efforts largely on heroin, cocaine and marijuana. It is possible to see trends in the average profile of who is selling what, but Freedman said there are always exceptions.
While a large percentage of marijuana-related crimes in Madison involve black males, Freedman said the average large volume dealer is actually a white, college-aged male.
Koval said he does not think racial profiling is the problem, but rather a mix of social and economic issues that lead to higher instances of crime in certain “challenged” neighborhoods.
“Quite frankly, you have a higher incidence like that in these neighborhoods that are increasingly becoming challenged due to socioeconomic factors of poverty,” Koval said. “That’s where we have a disproportionate amount of people of color living coincidentally.”
The issue is not just specific to the city, Koval said, though Madison is where his priorities lie. He said Madison is representative of a much larger national issue that needs to be dealt with.
For now, Koval said he realizes he still has a responsibility to enforce the state’s drug laws. However, it is not the most urgent issue on his list.
“I look at the myriad of instances that confront the police, not the least of which is weapons offenses, crimes against persons and heroin,” Koval said. “In relative scale, casual possession of marijuana does not rise to the top of our things to do.”
Madison police prefer leaving riot gear at the stationWhile local police forces nationwide face scrutiny for their use of military equipment, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval prefers to …badgerherald.com
For some of Madison’s homeless population, former city alder and Occupy Madison spokesperson Brenda Konkel’s porch has been a place of refuge.
For two years, she opened up her property to those in need. Following a neighbor’s complaint resulting in a city zoning violation, her guests now need to find a new place to sleep.
“It was nothing we ever really intended to do,” Konkel said. “It was just trying to figure what to do when somebody had no options.”
Konkel kept her porch open to the homeless and provided lockers for people to store their belongings in. None of her neighbors ever brought it up to her, but now she said an absentee landlord nearby filed a complaint as he is trying to sell his property.
Kyle Bunnow, housing inspection supervisor for the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development, said the housing violation is a simple breach of the property’s zoning code.
“The main issue here is the fact that there are people living at the property that are not living in the dwelling unit, and the zoning code prohibits that,” Bunnow said.
Konkel said she thinks the lack of other housing options led people to her porch. She said single men and women are only allowed 60 days a year in shelter, as well as when the temperature drops below 20 degrees. Konkel said other affordable housing options only lead to waiting lists that can last years.
Konkel said she has become good friends with most of her guests. With more than 50 people staying on her porch in the last two years, she said some relationships have been more personal than others.
One man, whom Konkel went to high school with, has a broken back. Konkel said he used the lockers to store his belongings and lessen the burden on his body.
“For him to carry around everything he owns was actually causing him more medical issues, so he came and put his stuff in the lockers,” Konkel said. “He was able to take the braces off his legs that he had when he had to walk.”
Dane County Board Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner, District 2, said the city ordinances that prohibit people from sleeping in most areas around the city is half of the problem.
“We need to remove the laws that penalize homeless people for carrying out life-sustaining activities. We need to remove the laws that penalize good, generous volunteers that are trying to help those people survive,” Wegleitner said.
Konkel said she places the blame on the city, not the housing and zoning departments. She said every zoning staff member she talked to felt awful about handing out the violation, but she understands that they just have to enforce the laws.
The other half of the problem, Wegleitner said, is lack of affordable housing for the city’s homeless.
“We don’t have the affordable housing we need to house people who are currently homeless,” Wegleitner said. “I have heard that homeless services providers have actually referred people to her porch, so it’s strange and really unfortunate to see the city cracking down on this.”
Wegleitner said Dane County itself is very behind in providing affordable housing, citing a study stating that the county would need to add 1,000 units of housing each year for the next 26 years in order to catch up with the homeless population’s needs.
However, Wegleitner said she is encouraged by Mayor Paul Soglin’s inclusion of a four year, $20 million affordable housing plan in his 2015 capital budget.
The budget includes funding for redevelopment of existing housing facilities as well as the construction of new buildings over the course of the next four years. Wegleitner said the budget is a start, but it is still not enough to turn around a local and national problem.
“Are we ever going to get to a point in time where there’s no homeless people? Probably not,” Wegleitner said, “but we really need to work together as a region to solve homelessness.”
Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke’s campaign is under scrutiny following a scandal in which parts of her jobs plan were discovered to be plagiarized.
After a Buzzfeed report showed that parts of Burke’s plan appeared to be lifted from passages from various campaigns, the Burke campaign responded by firing political consultant Eric Schnurer, who worked on writing the plan.
Burke told Gannett Wisconsin Media Friday that it was not correct to call the situation plagiarism, since Schnurer copied the content from work he had done for previous politicians.
“Certainly we did not expect that [Schnurer] would take exact verbiage that he had written and provided to other plans,” Burke said. “But these are ideas that I endorse and should be used in Wisconsin to ensure that Wisconsin has a leading economy, not a lagging economy.”
University of Wisconsin journalism professor Mike Wagner said although there have been examples in history in which charges of plagiarism have derailed campaigns, he does not think this would have the same effect.
“I’m not convinced that what she did was plagiarism,” Wagner said. “She paid a political consultant to give her advice, and she took what she paid for.”
Wagner said the decision to accept that information was bad judgment, but it is unlikely she will lose her any of her current supporters. For voters who are just starting to pay attention to the campaigns, however, he sad they may see this as a lack of seriousness in Burke’s plan.
Wagner said how she handles this situation would be important when it comes to voters who do not know her very well.
“She acted quickly, fired the consultant. That was a smart move,” Wagner said. “It’s usually best to just admit you were wrong and try to move on. The longer political candidates let these things twist in the wind, the worse it usually is for them.”
Still, Republicans are taking the opportunity to slam her campaign, accusing her of violating the plagiarism ethics of Madison Metropolitan School District, where she works as a board member, as well as universities she has attended, including Georgetown, London School of Economics and Harvard.
“It’s a sad day for Wisconsin when the Democratic nominee for governor misleads voters by offering a plagiarized jobs plan, in which she has staked her entire candidacy. Wisconsin deserves better, and its clear that Mary Burke cannot be trusted to lead our state,” Stephan Thompson, Walker’s campaign manager, said.
UW journalism professor and law expert Robert Drechsel said while there will not be any legal issues associated with this situation, it is an embarrassing incident for Burke’s campaign.
He said when language is borrowed that way, even if it is a case of a consultant who wrote the same things for various candidates, it is still plagiarism.
“At the very least, it’s pretty damn lazy and it shouldn’t happen,” Drechsel said. “All it can do is make people all the more cynical, if that’s possible, about the political process itself. Burke certainly did the right thing by firing that consultant, I would too.”
The University of Wisconsin will welcome author and alumnus Danielle Evans to its creative writing program this spring, where she will teach fiction workshops similar to those she attended in Madison years ago.
Evans, who is on leave as part of her hiring agreement, is getting settled in Madison and finishing up the first draft of her new novel before she begins teaching next semester.
Evans first took writing as a career seriously in college, she said, when she began taking creative writing courses and talking to contemporary authors. Originally from Washington D.C., she graduated from Columbia University in New York City with an anthropology degree and a creative writing certificate.
“That was the point in which I started realizing kind of what my life might look like as a writer as opposed to writing being just a thing I did while I had my real job and my real life,” Evans said.
She then got her graduate degree at University of Iowa in 2006 and attended UW’s fellowship program for the Creative Writing Institute. Evans got her first teaching job at Missouri State University, where she taught for a year before moving back to D.C.
Sean Bishop, creative writing program administrator at UW, said Evans’ time at UW was a factor in knowing how effective of a teacher she can be.
“We’ve known Danielle for quite awhile,” Bishop said, “so we know that she’s an incredible teacher of creative writing. Certainly she was the best writer of our faculty search.”
Evans will be teaching graduate and undergraduate fiction workshops and an advanced fiction class.
She said the focus of the workshops is primarily improving the students’ editing skills. Even if not all of her students will go on to be a professional writer, Evans said learning to communicate effectively is a valuable professional skill.
“The editing part gets easier but the generating part is always kind of terrifying and painful because if you’re risking anything at all there’s always the chance that it can go terribly, wildly wrong,” Evans said.
Coming off the success of her first collection of short stories, “Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self,” she said the fun part of being a writer is being able to start all over again on the next project.
Evans said she is always aware of the critics that constantly say that “no one cares about writing anymore” or “the novel is dead.” However, she said her experiences in teaching have always proven this to be false.
“Every year someone publishes a piece that declares the novel dead,” Evans said. “One of the things I like about teaching is that you see that people are still engaging with writing and that it’s still a way that we learn to understand ourselves.”
As she wraps up the first draft of her novel, Evans said she is excited to get back in the classroom and meet her graduate and undergraduate students.
On whether she plans to keep moving around the country or settle here in Madison, Evans said she is where she wants to be. Bishop said the department even has plans for her to become a director of the Master of Fine Arts writing program or the one of the fellowship programs she was once a part of.
“I’ll be here as long as they let me stay,” Evans said. “I don’t think all writers want to be teachers, but I very much want to be both.”
In a sea of more than 43,000 students, a University of Wisconsin program focusing on suicide prevention is hoping to teach Badgers to care for one another.
Umatter, an initiative within University Health Services, aims to spread awareness about mental health and suicide prevention so students know the resources available on campus and how to look out for their peers.
Valerie Kowis, suicide prevention coordinator with Umatter, said she wants to help raise awareness of mental health issues throughout the community, especially for staff and students to learn to notice warning signs of students in distress.
“We really do expect Badgers to look out for one another,” Kowis said. “I just think that the key message is, that if they themselves or a friend is in crisis, there are services here, there are people on campus that want to help.”
As a primary prevention program, Umatter helps provide education to members of the UW community and promotes the various mental health services offered at UHS.
Danielle Oakley, director of Mental Health Services at UHS, is in charge of overseeing the intervention services provided by UHS.
She said the best way that UHS can help people with mental health is to help them access campus services. She said students can come to the 7th floor of UHS between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or they can call the UHS 24-hour crisis line. She said this is open so that students have access to help at all hours, whether its at night, a weekend or the holidays.
UHS also provides psychiatry, and individual and group counseling to those struggling with mental health issues, Oakley said. Students may be referred to a mental health provider, who will see them on the medical floor. According to Oakley, UHS sees around 10 percent of the student body in mental health services each year, highlighting the importance of these programs.
Oakley said she believes early intervention is a main component in the effort to combat depression and various mental health issues.
“That’s part of suicide prevention, keeping it so that we recognize things early, get someone in treatment, and that they don’t have to go down the line and be in a situation where the student is really in crisis,” Oakley said.
If a student has to leave the school for mental health issues, UHS works directly with UW to help support the student, she said. If they return home, a care manager will help them access services at home, and Oakley said when they get back to campus, they are connected to services so they can stay in mental health treatment.
These programs allow students to help get back to an academic track to graduation, Oakley said. She said with these services, UHS helps students manage their mental health issues so that they can stay in school.
At-Risk, introduced by Umatter, is an online training program designed to train staff and students to recognize signs of students in distress, so they know how to communicate and make an effective referral.
Along with At-Risk is the Red Folder program. Similar to At-Risk, the Red Folder is a program designed to help recognize students in distress, and help make referrals to services on campus, Oakley said. It is an in-person training that takes around 15 minutes. According to Oakley, faculty and staff are often the first to notice students are struggling, and have the ability to get them to appropriate services faster.
Ask.Listen.Save., a student organization that focuses on suicide prevention on campus, holds an annual Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention walk during the spring semester.
Stephanie Dietz, president of Ask.Listen.Save., said the UW suicide prevention walk has led the charge, holding the number one spot in the nation for campus suicide prevention walk fundraising. The 2013 walk at UW raised $39,000 dollars for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, she said.
Dietz said she got involved with Ask.Listen.Save. her freshman year. Now a senior at UW majoring in psychology, Dietz said it is important for people to get past stigma of mental health so students feel comfortable talking about it.
“Whether it’s something personal, whether you know someone, it’s still okay to talk about the topic. And that’s something we are really trying to get students to be okay with … We can’t just ignore it. We have to be able to talk about it, bring it to light, so we can start making strides to lowering suicide rates among college students,” Dietz said.
University of Wisconsin alumnus Stephen J. Morrison returned to campus to address the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa, emphasizing the urgency of the present situation.
Morrison, a distinguished figure in both African studies and foreign affairs, earned an honorary degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in political science from UW. He currently serves as senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and directs the CSIS Center for Global Health Policy.
The event was co-sponsored by the Division of International Studies, the African Studies Program and the Global Health Institute, where Morrison discussed the exponentially increasing epidemic hitting few African countries.
The primary focus of the discussion was on the newly confirmed U.S. intervention, and the steps President Barack Obama is taking in order to fulfill a “moral obligation.” The growing concern over the magnitude of this outbreak is well validated, Morrison said.
“Ebola is complex. It’s cruel. It’s transformative. It’s very fast moving,” he said. “We’ve never seen this phenomenon that’s now upon us.”
Referring to the current Ebola crisis as West Africa’s “darkest moment,” Morrison said the efforts the U.S. is putting forward to intervene will bring hope to the most heavily-infected areas of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The current West African outbreak, as of Sept. 14, has confirmed 5,335 cases with 2,622 deaths, the largest Ebola crisis ever recorded, Morrison said. When compared to the 2000 outbreak affecting Uganda, with 224 deaths in 425 cases, he said these statistics have created an urgent need to intervene.
“The outbreak is now exponential. That means that every person infected is infecting one to two people and those one to two people become symptomatic within 21 days, and they infect one to two people,” Morrison said.
Morrison said a lack of surveillance, acutely weak health systems and massive distrust of authorities are all factors that led to the unremitting spread of the fatal disease.
Thus, Morrison said the early-mid cases of Ebola were driven “underground,” unseen and unheard of by authorities worldwide that were unaware of the significance of the epidemic.
Though the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders have all joined the fight against the disease, the ferocity of the spread and lack of adequate resources has led to direct U.S. intervention, he said.
“How do we explain what the turn around was? First, the ferocious trajectory of the outbreak itself, the exponential growth,” Morrison said.
Through internal modeling, it has been estimated that the Ebola cases could reach half a million by Christmas if unstopped due to urban invasion, an incident that had never occurred before for this disease.
What Morrison refers to as an “abyss,” the end of this summer showed no alternative choice than to turn to the military for its vast numbers, knowledge of bio warfare training and expertise and logistics in air-bridge lifts.
Morrison said with economic aid, the U.S. military hopes to establish a joint military command center in Liberia by deploying 3,000 troops. The plan is to create an air-bridge from Senegal and build additional treatment and isolation centers. Training indigenous health care workers has become essential in eradicating the infection while also delivering home kits in order to prevent further spread.
Morrison said he questions if this is enough, and is uncertain if U.S. involvement will bring a decline in this fatal epidemic.
“We don’t know. The critical question is whether or not you can break transmission; whether you can isolate those that are infected and sick and you can break the chain of transmission,” Morrison said. “There’s no data or experiential base for doing this and that is going to be the critical challenge.”
A University of Wisconsin organization formed by faculty wives in 1901 is still going strong today, with more than 400 members charged with the mission of generating scholarships for UW students.
University League, composed of faculty, students and the greater Madison community, aims to promote educational and social activities for its members more than a century after its inception.
The first meeting was held in spring of 1901 on the lawn of the wife of one of the pioneer members of the faculty. Today, University League members participate in volunteer and social opportunities with the overarching mission of raising scholarship funds.
“From among the 40 women present, committees were promptly formed … Teas, receptions and lawn parties were planned as suitable ways to promote social contacts for faculty as well as women students. Opportunities for helping girl students were found,” the Capital Times reported in 1929.
The largest volunteer program currently running is the University League’s partnership with Bookworms, president Kay Jarvis-Sladky said.
“Volunteers from the University League go out to Head Start programs, which promote pre-literacy preparation, and read a book to children ages two to four,” Jarvis-Sladky said.“This program runs once a month for eight months a year, more or less the school year.”
General scholarships from the League are funded by membership dues, donations and their annual scholarship benefit invitation.
Jarvis-Sladky said membership dues are $30 a year. The League is efficient with their dues, she said, as about 90 percent go back to scholarships.
“When we register our members on an annual basis there is an opportunity at every one of the activities to make a scholarship benefit,” Helen Lackore, endowed scholarship head, said.
The League also raises funds through a scholarship benefit invitation that is sent out to the members at the end of January. This fundraiser raised $15,000 in 2014, contributing to the total of $22,800 the organization donated in general scholarships.
General scholarships are not designated in memorial for a certain individual or to a certain college at the university, Lackore said.
“University League does not make any decisions about where the scholarship money goes or to whom it goes,” Lackore said. “It simply goes into the scholarship funds that each college has to offer to students and then whoever deals with scholarship money at the various colleges makes the decision about how many people receive a scholarship, how much money that is and who they are.”
In addition to general scholarships, the University League offers endowed scholarships which are generated when endowments are made by members in honor or memorial of a friend or family member, Lackore said. In 2014, more than $68,000 was donated in endowed scholarships.
“Some of those scholarships are not designated to any particular school,” Lackore said, “and some of them are. Whatever university college our endowed givers want their endowment to go to, then they have the opportunity to designate.”
For those who do not wish to designate, the foundation manages the endowment. Jarvis-Sladky said there is a fair distribution of endowment scholarships spread across the university. The University League gives the money to the schools, and those schools or colleges decide how to divide it up, she said.
Jarvis-Sladky said University League is always looking to expand membership in hopes to fund more scholarships and reach more Head Start programs around Dane County.
Republicans are slamming Democrat Mary Burke for a report pointing out her jobs plan includes passages lifted from past Democratic campaigns.
Buzzfeed reported Thursday that portions of Burke’s “Invest for Success” plan were nearly identical to passages from Democratic campaigns in Tennessee, Delaware, Virginia and Indiana.
Burke campaign blames "expert" Eric Schnur for copied jobs plan. http://t.co/CNeVHBSGp7
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) September 19, 2014
Burke, the former state commerce secretary, is running against Gov. Scott Walker in the Nov. 4 election.
The Burke campaign has fired consultant Eric Schnurer over the error, saying he copied from past work he’s done on other campaigns. Burke told Gannett Wisconsin Media on Friday that she was “disappointed” but said since Schnurer copied from his own work, it’s “mischaracterized to call it plagiarism.”
“Certainly we did not expect that [Schnurer] would take exact verbiage that he had written and provided to other plans,” Burke told Gannett Wisconsin Media. “But these are ideas that I endorse and should be used in Wisconsin to ensure that Wisconsin has a leading economy, not a lagging economy.”
But Republicans are criticizing Burke for the errors, including Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman who is from Wisconsin.
— Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) September 19, 2014
Stephan Thompson, Walker’s campaign manager, said in a statement that “Wisconsin deserves better.”
“It’s a sad day for Wisconsin when the Democratic nominee for Governor misleads voters by offering a plagiarized jobs plan, in which she has staked her entire candidacy. Wisconsin deserves better, and its clear that Mary Burke cannot be trusted to lead our state,” Thompson said.
Burke had previously criticized Walker’s 2010 jobs plan for being too short, comparing it to a middle school essay — which conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes pointed out.
FLASHBACK: Remember when Mary Burke mocked Walker jobs plan? "I've seen 8th grade term papers that had more work put into them.' "
— Charles Sykes (@SykesCharlie) September 19, 2014
Flu shots at University Health Services will begin next week as the temperatures dip down and flu season settles in.
Alisa Santiesteban, a spokesperson for UHS, recommends all students come early for their flu shots, which are free for students since they’re covered by student health fees.
“The flu is unpredictable, and it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in the body and actually provide protection,” Santiesteban said. “So we encourage them to come and get their flu shot over with. It will take 10 minutes.”
UHS is kicking off with a flu shot clinic Friday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Gordon Commons. All students need to bring is a student ID. There will be cookies and giveaways while supplies last, and an appearance from Bucky Badger earlier in the day.
If students are unable to attend Friday’s clinic, there are other alternatives. From Sept. 29 through Nov. 14, students can go to the 6th floor of UHS between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. for their flu shot. There are also satellite clinics at Union South, Dejope Hall and the Health Sciences Learning Center.
If students experience flu-like symptoms such as a fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat and fatigue, Santiesteban recommends staying home from school and work to give the body the rest it needs. This also limits the spread of the virus to those around you, Santiesteban said.
“By getting the flu shot, you’re protecting yourself, but you’re also helping keep the campus community healthier,” she said.
If there are any questions or concerns, UHS encourages people to call them at 608-265-5600.
The Associated Students of Madison Student Services Finance Committee unanimously passed eligibility for funding of the Campus Women’s Center at their meeting Thursday evening.
SSFC Vice Chair Thuy Pham said she was struggling to understand how one of the proposed core programs by the CWC called “condom crawl” is a core program, as it doesn’t seem to have any educational benefit.
Rep. Callen Raveret, however, said he thinks the group is creating awareness by attaching information to the condoms. The eligibility vote ultimately passed 9-0.
But the committee postponed voting for the Working Class Student Union until Monday, Sept. 22. WCSU supports first-generation, traditional and transfer working-class college students.
Pablo Montes, the WCSU president, said the group’s goal is to offer a safe community where people can share their unique experiences, knowledge and goals.
“Our educational workshops help students, advisors and teaching assistants to make the classroom more inclusive,” Montes said.
He said they also help students with identity concerns and emotionally-charged issues.
Hong Trinh, the financial director of WCSU, said the organization provides a space for working-class students to take pride in their roots through the working-class celebration month.
She said they also have a cultural showcase where students can celebrate their cultural identity on the UW campus.
“What is good is we sit down with students individually and help them one-on-one during our workshops,” Trinh said.
Rep. Jessica Franco-Morales asked what role staff and members play in the advocacy program.
Montes said members of the organization are available at any time upon request to listen to both sides of conflict and help the student feel more comfortable.
“As the president, I’ve already received a couple of emails from students complaining about some statements made by some member of faculty,” he said.
Newly-released job numbers show that Wisconsin still lags behind most Midwestern states in job growth, heightening the debate over job creation as the governor’s race is almost a month away.
Between March 2013 and March 2014, Wisconsin ranked 33rd in the nation and 8th out of 10 in the Midwest for job growth, according to the new quarterly numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In that time span, the state added 28,712 private sector jobs and had an overall growth of 1.26 percent, compared with a 2.08 percent increase in national job growth.
The quarterly census, although not as timely as monthly jobs data, is a census of about 96 percent of the state’s employers, so economists agree it is the most accurate portrait on the state’s job creation numbers.
Mike Browne, a spokesperson for the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, called the numbers disappointing, saying they fall far short of Gov. Scott Walker’s promise that he would add 250,000 private sector jobs in his four years in office.
“He has broken his promise to us and the result is Wisconsin continues to trail the rest of the Midwest in jobs and lag significantly behind the nation in terms of job growth,” Browne said. “He’s had an entire term where he’s been in charge with a lockdown Republican Legislature that has given him everything he has asked for in terms of economic development agenda — and the numbers show that he’s been an abject failure.”
But the Walker campaign pointed to unemployment numbers as a sign of a growing economy.
Within the year, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.6 percent, the lowest it has been since 2008. Walker spokesperson Alleigh Marré said that number shows Walker’s policies are improving Wisconsin’s job prospects as a whole.
“Wisconsin’s economy is growing and moving forward under Gov. Walker’s leadership,” Marré said. “With more than 100,000 jobs created and the lowest unemployment rate in six years, Wisconsin can’t afford to go backward with Madison liberal Mary Burke.
The election between Walker and Burke, the former Trek Bicycle executive and state commerce secretary, is Nov. 4. The latest Marquette University Law School poll had them at a statistical dead heat for the fourth time in a row.
From Baroque to brass, the University of Wisconsin School of Music will host a series of music festivals this year bringing new styles, musicians and composers to the campus.
Three short festivals and one year-long festival are planned, replacing the traditional 10 to 12 guest artists that would perform throughout the year.
“There is more excitement about a cluster of events around a topic or theme or individual,” said Susan Cook, director of the School of Music and professor of musicology. ”You can really go deeper and do more interesting programming when you have folks on campus for more than just one event. It seems to be better for our students — they can really get to know these visitors — and also more interesting to our audiences who can have a more sustained musical experience.”
The change in tradition is a new effort to bring in more of the surrounding community as well as students and faculty to School of Music events.
The festivals will last several days and feature performances, master classes, colloquia, workshops and lectures.
“It’s a nice time of transition here at the School of Music. We have fun new people here and new ideas,” Katherine Esposito, manager of concerts and public relations at the School of Music, said. “I hope people start to notice what we are doing a little bit more here and join us. We’ve been here a long time, and we are trying to create events that are really intriguing.”
They are all public events, with most being free; some galas and the three headlining concerts are ticketed.
Celebrate Brass!, organized by John Aley, professor of trumpet, will kick off the festival season Oct. 8-13, featuring guests such as internationally acclaimed Norwegian tubist Oystein Baadsvik and composer Tony Plog. The festival will include brass-related concerts, masterclasses and open rehearsals.
The 4th Annual UW-Madison/Madison Metropolitan School District Jazz Festival will follow in December, as well as a George Crumb-themed festival in March and the year-long Rediscovering Rameau.
Between Feb. 19-23, the School of Music will present “Seventy Degrees Below Zero,” the music of British composer Cecilia McDowall. The festival is McDowell’s first residency in the U.S. and will include her composition based on Robert Falcon Scott’s last letters home from the Antarctic.
Cook said she hopes students will experience the range and diversity of music available to them.
“[We want students] to appreciate the contributions of their music-making friends, to see the School of Music as a gateway to a world of sounds, to be inspired to find their own modes of creativity,” she said.
The University of Wisconsin is once again one of the top contributors to Teach for America, with a total of 52 UW alumni recruited in 2014.
This year’s applicant pool was also the most diverse in the organization’s 25 years, according to the TFA website. TFA recruits recent college graduates as well as professionals to teach in underserved schools, said Grace Shea, the UW Campus campaign coordinator for TFA.
She said many people mistake it for a volunteer service, but it is not.
“Rather, it helps recruit, train and place corps members in classrooms as fully certified teachers for a minimum of 2-3 years,” she said.
Shea, who has already been accepted as a 2015 Metro Atlanta Teach For America Corps Member, said the number of UW alumni who are corps this year didn’t surprise her, as the university is typically one of the highest contributors of alumni.
Shea said UW frequently churns out a high number of students for TFA because UW is service-oriented and has an outstanding quality of education.
“It is a testament to the quality of students at UW,” Shea said. “Students here are also highly involved in extracurricular activities and are truly becoming leaders. I definitely think that’s one thing UW excels at – educating and creating leaders.”
Sam Sherwood, the TFA recruitment manager for UW, said in Madison, he spends most of his time meeting with people, sharing information about the TFA and helping with the application process.
He said he joined the corps after graduating from Grinnell College in 2012 and has been teaching high school biology in the Chicago Public School system for the past two years. Sherwood refers to the experience as “eye-opening.”
“I grew up in Seattle and went to a public high school that was one of the best in the state, so I didn’t really realize how lucky I was to have such a great resource at my disposal,” he said. “I never really fully understood until I entered that classroom on the west side of Chicago for the first time that not all kids receive the same type of education that I received, simply because of the color of their skin or their zip code.”
This semester will also see the commencement of the Badgers Teach For America student org, which Shea started.
Shea said this is the first true student organization TFA will have on campus and she hopes to attract students from various majors to talk educational inequity, social justice and diversity as it pertains to current events.
Wiscards will not make the cut for voter identification in November, but for out-of-state students at the university, there is one more caveat: Non-Wisconsin driver’s licenses won’t work either.
Campuses across the University of Wisconsin System will instead offer students special IDs they can use on Election Day, responding to a federal court ruling last week that revived the state’s voter ID law.
The Badger Herald contacted the 14 UW System institutions after last Friday’s appeals court ruling reinstating the law, which had been on hold since 2012 due to legal challenges. Ten institutions, including UW-Madison and UW Colleges, confirmed they will issue the IDs at no cost to students, as their current student IDs are not valid for voting purposes.
UW System spokesperson Jim Villa said UW-Superior’s current student IDs already meet the law’s specifications and that the three remaining institutions are planning on issuing free IDs on campus, as well.
“That’s really great news,” United Council of UW Students Executive Director Nneka Akubeze said. “It certainly alleviates a huge burden for students who would have to travel [to the Division of Motor Vehicles]. In the case of UW-Madison, they’d have to research a bus line they’re not used to and travel further down University Avenue than they’ve traveled before.”
The current student IDs at UW-Madison and 12 other institutions cannot be used on Election Day, prompting those campuses to issue separate IDs that fit the law’s specifications.
Under the law, Wisconsin college student IDs are valid at the polls if they have the student’s name, signature and photo, and if they have issuing and expiration dates. The ID cannot be expired, and the expiration date cannot be more than two years after the ID was issued.
Most UW System students have Wisconsin-issued IDs or other valid IDs like passports or military IDs, and election officials and student groups are encouraging students to use those at the polls. But thousands of UW System out-of-state students wanting to vote in Wisconsin may not have a Wisconsin ID or other types of valid photo IDs. Out-of-state driver’s licenses, for example, are not valid photo IDs under the law.
“If you do not have a Wisconsin ID, then you definitely want to go get an ID from UW-Madison,” City of Madison Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl said. “It’s important for students to know the ID they were issued at the beginning of the semester, that’s a perfectly good ID for all other UW purposes, but it’s not in the acceptable list for voting purposes.”
Starting next week, UW-Madison students can go to the Wiscard office at Union South to request a voter ID for free. Other UW System campuses will be making their IDs available soon, as many are finalizing the details and confirming that the IDs are consistent with the law.
But in addition to the special university-issued voter IDs, students will need to bring further documentation. That could be a tuition receipt, a letter from the university confirming enrollment or similar documents, according to the Government Accountability Board, the state agency that oversees elections.
“The important thing that students need to know is that a student ID has to be used in conjunction with another document that proves enrollment,” GAB spokesperson Reid Magney said.
A significant outreach effort is ongoing at the system level and at individual campuses to let students know of the changes. The Fair Elections Legal Network is hosting a student voting webinar Thursday at noon that some UW System campuses have publicized.
Still, opponents of the voter ID law, including the American Civil Liberties Union, continue to raise concerns. Kristin Hansen, the development director at the ACLU of Wisconsin, which sued against the voter ID law, said with less than 50 days until Election Day, outreach efforts might not reach some students.
“Students who need to get a separate ID in order to vote are going to be able to go and do that,” Hansen said. “However, that still makes you wonder, ‘Are you sure we’re reaching every student who wants to vote? Is there going to be some confusion?’ I fear what we’re going to find is a lot of people who show up to vote thinking they have done everything they need to do, and it’s not good enough, and it’s too late on the day of the election.”
If students do not show the proper ID on Election Day, their ballots will be counted as provisional. That means for their vote to count, they would need to return to the clerk’s office by the Friday after the Nov. 4 election with the right documents — which the city clerk said rarely happens.
Laurel Patrick, a spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker, said in an email to The Badger Herald that the appeals court ruling was a “win for the electoral process and voters of Wisconsin.”
“Voter ID is a common sense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process,” she said. “It’s important that voters have confidence in the system. The ruling makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
Villa, the UW System spokesperson, noted campuses already provided IDs in February 2012, the only election since the law passed that it has been in place.
“We’ve done this, so I’m pretty confident it’s going to go smoothly on our end,” Villa said.
More information for UW-Madison students is available at http://uc.wisc.edu/vote/.
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