The Badger Herald
Running for office, not away: Applications for training program for Democratic women spike after Trump election
Following the election of President-elect Donald Trump, protests, petitions and political activity erupted in cities and college campuses around the country that expressed dismay at the the nation’s choice of the controversial Republican businessman for the White House.
But despite the defeat of Hillary Clinton, who many predicted would become the first female president, Emerge Wisconsin — a training program aimed at preparing Democratic female legislators for political life — saw an unexpected spike in applications after election day.
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After election night, Erin Forrest, executive director at Emerge Wisconsin, was worried the results would have a discouraging effect on women wanting to run for political office.
“I was not in a great place after election night,” Forrest said.
But in a few days, Forrest started seeing more applications come in for her program.
Since the application period opened in September, the program received 100 applications total. Sixty of those applications were received after Nov. 8, with 18 of them coming in within the first two days after the election.
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Calling the rise in applications motivating and inspiring, Forrest said she was filled with hope.
“Those women made the decision that they weren’t happy with what happened, and they felt like they can be empowered to do something about it,” Forrest said. “Their response wasn’t ‘I want nothing to do with this,’ it was ‘We need more people to get elected, and I can be one of those people.'”
Some notable alumnae from the program are Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, Dane County Supervisor Jenni Dye, District 33 and University of Wisconsin alumna and former College Democrat, Dane County Supervisor Hayley Young, District 5.
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Participants in the six-month long program meet one weekend each month to partake in various trainings ranging from public speaking and communication to fundraising and campaign strategy.
The program is designed to let the group bond, become cohesive and explore why they want to run for office, Forrest said.
Particularly for women, it is important to have a support network of fellow women when running for office, Forrest said. It’s not that women are less capable to run for office, Forrest said, but it is how society is structured that requires them to have that extra help.
“Women are still responsible for emotional labor in life like taking care of kids and aging parents, so they are much less likely to self select to run for office,” Forrest said.
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This significant gap in political ambition between men and women starts as early as the high school level, Forrest added.
In a 2013 study “Girls Just Wanna Not Run,” 37 percent of female college-aged students considered running for political office compared to the 57 percent of their male counterparts.
Women often need to be asked by their peers and neighbors to run for office, UW junior Clara Hoff said.
Despite what she called “disappointing” results, Hoff, who also serves as vice-chair for College Democrats, believes more women will be willing to take that next step in running for office.
“After the results, we all needed to take time for ourselves — but we understand that our work has to continue,” Hoff said. “We saw a lot more people showing interest in the political process in the election.”
In the same vein, UW sophomore and College Democrats press secretary Eliana Locke received messages of support and inquiries of how to get more involved after the election. For her, while the election loss was like no other, it also presented a hopeful moment where people can start to work toward serious change.
The biggest change men and women can make in the future, is working to battle the misogyny and sexism that is “prevalent in our society” and has crept into the campaign trails for female candidates, Locke said.
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With women making up a little over 50 percent of the population, but only 20.1 percent of Congress, Locke said women can bring in a a unique perspective on certain issues, such as reproductive health.
“We need more programs like Emerge Wisconsin because the way the system of campaigning is set up, is systematically set up to favor men,” Locke said. “Since we’ve had more men candidates than women, people are programmed to see men as the more correct version.”
While Locke said programs like Emerge Wisconsin are not going to fix people’s implicit biases against women running for office over night, it will provide them the skills to fit with people’s perceptions and see them as viable candidates.
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With more applicants, Forrest said the program is looking at ways to craft additional programing to meet all the needs of the women who applied after seeing the election results.
While there will be no dramatic shifts for the program in the foreseeable future, Forrest said they will work to find answers to the ever-evolving political landscape as they move along.
“Part of the answer is building the future we want and building a government that looks like the people it represents,” Forrest said.
For scholars and journalists who may still be confused by President-elect Donald Trump’s win, a recent book sheds light on why Trump’s message was appealing, especially to rural Wisconsin voters.
Published in March of this year, “The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker,” by University of Wisconsin political science professor Katherine Cramer, demonstrates that rural voters felt overlooked by urban cities.
Cramer, also the director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service at UW, said her book was not originally supposed to describe Trump’s appeal to rural America, but rather was supposed to help readers better understand rural America in general.
For the project, Cramer visited restaurants and convenience stores across Wisconsin to listen to discussions and reactions from rural residents about state events. What she found was “rural resentment” toward cities. Cramer said she was not aware of this resentment prior to her research.
“The resentment is this sense of feeling like they are not getting their fair share of political attention, public resources and respect,” Cramer said.
The “politics of resentment” are the ways in which politics figures “tap into” voters’ anger at being ignored, like how Trump tapped into the social divides in America, Cramer said. These animosities helped Cramer understand how groups of people and official entities interact and engage with each other.
The rural parts of Wisconsin wanted a change that prioritized their needs at the top of the political system, and they felt Trump would lead them to that, Cramer said.
“In many different places in Wisconsin among many different types of people, there is distrust of the political system for feelings of being ignored and disrespected,” Cramer said.
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Though almost everybody Cramer talked to said the political system wasn’t working for them, their concerns varied.
For example, Native Americans protest that the state does not have a good enough Native American history curriculum. If there was a more detailed curriculum, more people would know when to respect their culture and traditions, Cramer said.
Moreover, Cramer said Trump’s win can also be attributed to the distrust among rural Americans for Hillary Clinton. The more conservative-leaning groups distrusted Clinton most.
Cramer said she wanted to do a study where she could travel around the state and engage in personal dialogue rather than just sit at home and “guess” what the big issues and major concerns are. She said it’s important to “get off campus” and ask people what they actually think.
Cramer is known for her approach to studying public opinion on politics and how people view their place in politics by interacting directly with communities and engaging in direct conversations.
In her second book, “Talking about Race: Community Dialogues and the Politics of Difference,” Cramer used a similar strategy to observe conversations at local hangouts and illuminate how people talk about race.
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Cramer grew up in Grafton, just north of Milwaukee and graduated from UW in 1994. Cramer returned to UW after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 2000 to focus on politics in her home-state.
“[Wisconsin] politics were always very fascinating to me because people were generally politically involved, but more than average across the country,” Cramer said. “Also, we have a lot of innovation here and interesting political characters.”
Since 2000, Cramer has written four books and has received the 2006 UW-Madison Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Cramer said this presidential election illuminates the irony of politics. Politicians often focus on big cities and urban areas, but the politics of resentment has provided this “fertile ground” for Trump to lay his message and allow it to grow and travel, Cramer said.
“People in small towns are pretty much off the radar for most of the national and political reporting, and now suddenly we are a big focus of attention,” Cramer said.
The post Feelings of being overlooked planted the seed for Trump’s election appeared first on The Badger Herald.
As more states choose to legalize marijuana, many Wisconsinites wonder if the dairy state will be the next to allow recreational or medicinal use of the plant.
Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use. California, Massachusetts and Nevada on Nov. 8 became the latest states to opt for legal recreational use. Wisconsin, however, is choosing to keep the drug illegal for both recreational and medical use. Currently in Wisconsin, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor that could result in a fine or jail time.
One exception in the Wisconsin law is for individuals with seizure disorders. Qualified patients are allowed to possess cannabidiol, a component found in marijuana. This chemical helps treat seizures and is not associated with producing a “high” for the consumer.
Despite Wisconsin’s stringent restrictions on the drug, a recent Marquette Law School poll shows that 59 percent of Wisconsin voters agree that marijuana “should be fully legalized and regulated like alcohol.”
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Marijuana is still illegal under federal law in all 50 states due to federal prohibition, but many states break federal law in order to allow marijuana use in their state.
Barry Burden, UW political science professor, said legislators are leery of legalizing marijuana because of the current federal prohibition, and fear that marijuana can serve as a gateway drug.
Many states that have legalized marijuana have done so by referendums and not acts of legislators, Burden said.
Scott Chipman, Southern California Chair of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, said states should not legalize marijuana because of the dangers of the drug.
Marijuana could have dangerous health affects, especially for young people, Chipman said. Many people do not know the dangers of marijuana, which Chipman claims include brain damage, cancer and increased danger behind the wheel. He said other states should consider these concerns before adopting marijuana reform.
Representative Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, has proposed many bills that aimed to loosen the laws restricting marijuana, but has seen little success. Sargent said legalization will benefit society in many ways. She claims lifting restrictions on this one plant can help problems in criminal justice, provide medicinal benefits, raise money for state though taxes and revive people’s personal liberties.
“The most dangerous thing about marijuana is that it is illegal,” Sargent said.
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Minor drug offenses, like possession of marijuana, cause many people to find themselves in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system, leading to racial disparities in the prison system, Sargent said.
In Dane County, the 2013 Race to Equity report shows an African-American adult is 8.1 times more likely to be arrested than a white adult.
Sargent said legalizing marijuana will not fix the problem of racial disparities in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system, but it can be the first step in solving the issue. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said Wisconsin is looking at the problem of drug use in the wrong way.
Koval said law enforcement in Madison has put possession of marijuana as a low priority on the list of criminal offenses. Instead of punishing people for minor drug possession we should be educating people about the risks associated with the drug, Koval said.
If Wisconsin is to move toward legalization there will need to be serious conversations about the other issues that accompany marijuana use, Koval said. Discussions about regulation, safety and accessibility are very important factors when looking at legalizing marijuana.
Many of the same concerns with alcohol apply to marijuana, Koval said. Preventing the drug from getting into the hands of minors and driving while under the influence of marijuana are just a few of the concerns that accompany legalization. There is also an inherent risk of the physical consequences of marijuana.
“Any time you are taking on drugs that are foreign to the body, whether that be beer or intoxicants or in this case marijuana, it is not necessarily good for the overall body’s health and wellness,” Koval said.
But Sargent said whether marijuana is harmful or a medicine, the government should have no place making decisions about what a person should or should not be able to do with their body. Legalizing marijuana does not mean everyone should it, but it gives the people that do choose to use it the ability to be more open and to not stigmatize marijuana users as criminals when they are our neighbors and friends, Sargent said.
But Chipman said the government has the responsibility to protect the safety of its citizens, which includes keeping marijuana illegal.
“The government has an important roll in promoting public health and safety,” Chipman said.
The issue of marijuana is very polarizing, Koval said. In the same Marquette poll 39 percent of people in Wisconsin have negative attitudes about the controlled substance. Fifty-five percent of Wisconsinites think the government should have “no business” in deciding what adults put in their body.
Sargent said marijuana is not an easy topic to discuss, and there has been almost a century of misinformation around the drug. Marijuana is hard to study because of it’s Schedule 1 classification by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Marijuana is listed along with Heroin, LSD and Ecstacy. If we look at the science behind it, continuing the prohibition on marijuana is not benefiting our society, Sargent said.
“Legalizing marijuana will increase prosperity, make a safer community and honor personal liberties at the same time which seems like a real home run,” Sargent said.
Wisconsin’s Democratic legislators will have a difficult time passing their bills as experts predict Republicans will take an “emboldened” approach toward their agenda in the upcoming legislative session.
Wisconsin Republicans Nov. 8 secured their largest majority in the state Legislature since 1956. Mike Wagner, University of Wisconsin journalism professor, said this is predictive of an even more conservative agenda going through the session in 2017.
“Democrats are going to have a hard time getting much of their agenda on the legislative agenda, let alone getting it passed,” Wagner said.
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Republicans’ stronger presence in the Legislature is expected to impact students. UW System Board of Regents approved a plan for $42.5 million in state aid for the 2017-19 budget in August, which is approximately half of the $95.2 million it requested for the 2015-17 budget.
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UW political science professor Barry Burden said Republicans could push for further cuts to higher education institutions like those in the UW System, which Wagner said could raise other costs like tuition and are expected to be met with resistance from students. Burden anticipates Democrats will try to lessen budget cuts through their own proposals, however, the Legislature is unlikely to adopt them.
Burden said the university in the upcoming session is expected to push for its budget plan and for fewer restrictions on employees and research areas. UW System’s budget plan looks to expand college advising options for younger students, increase research opportunities, connect students with job opportunities and create a more transparent system.
Another issue state Republicans are expected to spearhead is legalizing concealed carry on college campuses, something the UW System opposes.
Wisconsin Legislators might have to propose changes to BadgerCare, a state program that provides health care coverage to Wisconsinites in need, if President-elect Donald Trump and Congress repeal the Affordable Care Act, Burden said. In this case, since Obamacare would no longer be in effect, all laws passed in accordance with it would have to be reversed through new bills. It is unclear what impact repealing the Affordable Care Act will have on Wisconsin.
Transportation funding is another issue that Republicans could find difficult, Burden said. Wisconsin’s roads and transport continue to decline without further investment in their upkeep, which is something that will probably be addressed in the upcoming session.
“The governor continues to be at odds with legislative leaders about how much to invest in transportation and how to pay for it,” Burden said.
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Regarding K-12 education, Burden expects state Republicans to move forward this session with their school choice program.
Burden predicts bills increasing support for private schools and the School Choice Wisconsin program to be passed. The School Choice Wisconsin program expands educational options for students in low to middle-income families through vouchers and parent-focused programs.
Democrats are expected to continue pushing for election reforms, criminal justice reform and other issues, but it is unlikely their initiatives will get any serious attention.
“We should expect the [Republican] party to have continued success enacting most of its desired legislation,” Burden said.
Doha Awad contributed to reporting for this article.
The post Republicans could push for further cuts to UW System budget in upcoming session appeared first on The Badger Herald.
The first year of law school is not known for being easy.
Jen Bizzotto, a second-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School, learned this first hand around exam time of the 2016 spring semester.
“I had sort of a crisis,” Bizzotto said. “I kind of dissolved, and my ability to be productive was just not there.”
As she reached out to the Dean of Students Office and her professors, she began to document the whole process as a health concern and realized something: This happens to a lot of people.
But it’s something no one ever talks about, she said.
“The more vocal I have been about having problems, the more I see people feel the same exact way and are able to relate,” Bizzotto said.
A February 2016 study found that 28 percent of attorneys struggle with some level of depression and 19 percent show symptoms of anxiety.
So when Bizzotto got an email asking if she’d be interested in becoming a health ambassador for the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program, she signed up immediately.
WisLAP provides physical, mental and emotional health support services to lawyers, law students and judges through the State Bar of Wisconsin, WisLAP manager Mary Spranger said.
The support service was first developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s to help manage substance abuse among practicing attorneys — a problem that has not subsided since. Since then, the program has expanded to address any troubles of a personal nature that may decrease a member’s well being or impair their ability to practice law, Spranger said.
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Noting that law students struggle with the same concerns as practicing attorneys do, Spranger said WisLAP partnered up with UW Law School to provide extra resources for students seeking help.
While WisLAP has a staff of its own, Spranger said the “heart of the program” is its volunteers.
Former judges, lawyers — some recovering from substance abuse themselves — and students give their time to help others seeking help, Spranger said.
At the moment, the UW Law School has eight health ambassadors who serve as liaisons between the program and the legal student body. As one of them, Bizzotto said they are working with Spranger to develop programming to expand health and wellness support.
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“We’re still evolving the role of what it means to be health ambassadors. Even if we put ourselves out there as potential mentors, it’s really hard to get people to reach out to you,” Bizzotto said. “Yes, we can listen to people’s concerns, but people don’t want to talk about this kind of stuff because they want to be perceived as successful and [law school] is a competitive process.”
One of the ways Brizzotto said they hope to help students is by institutionalizing themselves within the school by becoming a recognized group, like the Academic Enhancement Program.
AEP provides enhancement and supportive services for all UW law students. Brizzotto currently serves as one of the two-year law students who hosts and leads discussion groups for first-year law students.
From talking about a stressful assignment or following up with one of the students personally, Brizzotto said she takes it upon herself to make sure everyone is doing well.
Along with helping out students on a personal basis, Brizzotto also wants to address a culture that she said is “rampant” in both the law school and legal profession as a whole: alcohol dependency.
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In the same study from above, WisLAP also found 36.4 percent of surveyed lawyers scored at a level consistent with hazardous drinking or possible alcohol abuse or dependence. Of the same participants, 14.2 percent said the problem manifested during law school.
Brizzotto is not surprised.
Pointing to the “Bar Review” — an every-Thursday-night law student drinking gathering — as the only regular social event promoted by the Law School, Brizzotto said the drinking culture starts earlier on.
“When I hear ‘Oh, we’re so stressed out, let’s get trashed,’ it’s disheartening,” Brizzotto.
As Brizzotto works with the other health ambassadors to establish WisLAP within the Law School, she hopes to promote healthier social events, like a board game night.
Overall, as the WisLAP program continues to develop within UW, Spranger hopes to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and combat the culture of “you can’t talk about these things.”
“UW law students already have so many resources to choose from, there are a platter of things,” Spranger said. “Since they will be a part of the state bar, why not give them this extra resource, too?”
WisLAP provides free and confidential services to law students, lawyers and judges. Members can seek additional support on their 24-hour help line at (800)-543-2625.
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After several years of residents pushing for the Madison Public Market to be approved in the city budget, the market will finally be built within the next three years.
The market, for which the city plans to invest $13 million, is part of the long-term effort of community members, stakeholders and prospective vendors and will act as a location for food retail, wholesaling, processing, art/craft vending and community events.
It will be located along First Street near the intersection of East Washington Avenue and Johnson Street.
Though there was a large amount of discussion on the Public Market during the budget deliberations, ultimately the council approved it 17-3. There was solid support in the council for the market.
Dan Kennelly, the manager of the city’s office of business resources, said the space will also provide a demonstration kitchen, various programs and education and training.
Kennelly said the market will help people in the area start businesses, particularly those who might not typically be able to. He said the food preparation and food service industries represent the largest number of jobs in the Madison area.
“The Public Market aims to be a place that helps people in that sector who might have skills in that sector or an interest in starting a business … get an opportunity to start a business,” Kennelly said.
From a community perspective, Kennelly said the market will be a great public space for people to learn and get access to food.
Colin Murray, the executive director of Dane Buy Local, a local nonprofit organization that focuses on creating a thriving local economy, said the Public Market can be a stepping stone for businesses to expand in the future. It offers an opportunity to redevelop an area in the Northside which is going through major changes with the closure of Oscar Mayer plant.
Murray said Dane Buy Local has been involved in recent years with the Public Market, especially working with outreach.
Murray said during the battle of the city budget, the market was up against a police station and a fire station, both of which were able to move forward in the end.
“There was a lot of concern about that, pitting one project against the other, which is unfortunate,” Murray said.
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When they created the original business plan, the city sent out a survey to members of the community Kennelly said 95 percent of survey respondents supported the project.
Overall, Murray said people have been very supportive and like the idea of making a market in Madison. Some, however, wish to see it in a different location.
Murray said there were other areas in the city that could benefit from the market, but the city already owned some of the property and a building that could be utilized.
In the city, Murray said there has been a huge focus on supporting local businesses, so the Public Market fits well with that ideal.
“I’m surprised we didn’t have a public market sooner,” Murray said. “Some of the major cities already have them, including Milwaukee, so we’re a bit behind the times when it comes to the public market, but it looks like we’re getting there.”
According to its website, the plan is to start designing the market in 2017, building in 2018 and open in early 2019.
Kennelly said throughout the creation of the market, there will be chances for the public to get involved.
“This is an on-going process, and we are still working on the design of the project,” Kennelly said. “There will be opportunities for people to provide input and help shape the project as we go forward, so stay tuned.”
For students looking to make some extra cash on the weekend, bartending is often an attractive, and lucrative, option. But in the process of trying to land that job, they discover an unexpected hurdle: having to get licensed.
It’s a hindrance that many politicians across the aisle are looking to eliminate.
Occupational licensing has brought Democrats like President Barack Obama, Libertarians and Republicans together to reduce restrictions on employment.
The Libertarian public interest firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty published a report early this month calling for the elimination of licenses for certain occupations including bartending, auctioneering and cosmetology. Occupational licenses are requirements for certain occupations to be approved by the government, WILL research fellow Colin Roth said.
This comes after a White House report that called for a reduction of occupational licenses nation wide. Obama has formally called for all states to reform their current licensing program and made federal funding available for these reforms.
In Wisconsin, Roth said the number of licenses given out by the state government has increased in recent years. The number of occupational license holders in Wisconsin has gone from 275,000 in 1996 to 371,000 in 2016, according to WILL. These regulations have resulted in consequences for both workers and consumers.
“Licensing comes at a price,” Roth said. “It can result in higher consumer costs, restricts supply, and restricts entry [to employment].”
Despite these negative effects, Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, said not all occupational licenses should be eliminated. The state should continue to require licenses for occupations that are important to public health and safety. In these cases, licensing helps promote higher quality of service, Kooyenga said.
For some occupations, licensing prevents people from “climbing the economic ladder,” Kooyenga said. Restrictions can exclude people who may not have enough financial resources to attend certification but are capable of entering an occupation.
Roth said people in certain occupations want the government to require licensing because this can end up professionalizing an occupation. This, however, can also be unfair for individuals trying to enter certain career fields, Roth said, because those who were working in the field before the requirement don’t need to obtain a license.
“Licenses fence out people that want to enter the [field],” Roth said. “The people in the occupation already get it because they are usually grandfathered in.”
Kooyenga said occupational representatives often go to the state government to become licensed. Once permission to license is granted, a committee of high ranking members of the occupation determine the requirements for obtaining a license. These requirements could include completing a certain number of experience hours or obtaining a certain level of education.
Some reforms have already taken place at a municipal level, Roth said. Up until November 2015, all levels of government, including state and municipal government, had the ability to impose licensing requirements for certain occupations. But with the passage of Wisconsin Act 65, this is no longer the case.
“Maybe we have put up too many barriers for people to get into jobs they are pursuing,” Roth said.
Officials as high as President Obama agree that occupational licensing can create barriers to employment and can be unnecessary. Obama has created a grant to support states that choose to reform licensing policies. The $7.5 million grant is available for states because most licensing happens at the state level, according to White House.
Kooyenga said this is an issue that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind. Reducing requirements attracts those on the left that are concerned with poverty and employment as well as those on the right that are concerned about overextending the role of government, Kooyenga said.
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In the late ‘90s, Cameron Currie, now a professor of bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin, traversed through the Panamanian rainforest to observe the world’s most ancient agriculturalists: leaf-cutter ants.
These unique ants could be the key to addressing humans’ increasing resistance to antibiotics.
Like humans, leaf-cutter ants grow their own food, a fungus related to the common mushroom. They can carry 5,000 times their body weight, Currie said, and strip the leaves of an entire tree in one day to feed their fungal gardens.
Currie plowed through the dirt with his hands, uprooting colonies containing millions of ants that find shelter within the 3,000 rooms connected by intertwining tunnels underneath the tropical terrain.
After taking a closer look at the leaf-cutter ants in his lab, he noticed it: a waxy substance covering the ants’ bodies.
But after sifting through thousands of articles, he found nothing to explain its purpose.
By separating the ants from their fungal gardens in his lab, Currie discovered this wax coating wasn’t actually wax at all, but a special type of bacteria.
In the absence of the bacteria-donning ants, Currie observed that their fungal gardens began contracting diseases — leading to an all-too human realization.
“I actually stated it as a joke,” said Currie. “Wouldn’t it be funny if these ants are using antibiotic-producing bacteria like humans do?’”
Currie’s discovery of antibiotic-producing bacteria on the bodies of millions of leaf-cutter ants, as well as common insects found in the United States, could potentially replace soil bacteria as a source of antibiotics. Soil bacteria is currently used in 75 to 85 percent of pharmaceutical drugs that are losing effectiveness on humans across the globe.
Not only do these antibiotics fight infection, they are also used in critical medical practices such as transplant surgery and premature childbirth, Currie said.
“It’s fundamental to all modern medicine,” Currie said. “If you took away antibiotics, we would be biomedically put back in the dark ages.”
Though bacterial diseases are treatable with most of these antibiotics, some bacteria’s resistance to some antibiotic strains found in this group of soil bacteria means the mortality rate from these infections has dangerously increased, UW Professor of Medicine and Division Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. David Andes said.
A survey conducted in the UK, Andes said, predicted that by 2050 more than 10 million people will die per year from antibiotic-resistant diseases — more than the amount of people who die annually from heart disease and cancer combined.
But even healthy people too, Andes said, can be infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, meaning no group of people are immune.
For doctors and nurses who work at the UW Hospital, these cases are becoming more common.
“Here at the hospital, easily half of the infections we treat are drug-resistant infections,” Andes said. “We see patients [at least once] every day for which we don’t have any effective antibiotic therapy. …There’s really not anything we can do, they usually don’t survive.”
MRSA, a bacterial infection which causes noticeable wounds on the skin and severe pneumonia, has, over the past 15 years, become a quintessential case of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the American Museum of Natural History.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect at least two million people in the U.S. every year. At least 23,000 of those people will die every year as a result — more than by HIV/AIDS in the US — unless a new strain of antibiotic is found, Currie said.
It takes 15 years, however, to develop a new pharmaceutical antibiotic, an undertaking which hasn’t been done in the last 20 years, Currie said.
Currently, in soil bacteria, only one out of every one million strains of antibiotics is found to have pharmaceutical potential, Currie said.
But thanks to Currie’s initial finding of fungal garden-preserving bacteria found on leaf-cutter ants, he and his lab have discovered 25 new antibiotics from screening only 250 strains of insect bacteria, including honeybees found throughout the United States and even on the UW campus.
Finding one new potential antibiotic per 10 strains of insect bacteria is a promising result, Currie said, adding that there is a 20 percent chance that these new antibiotics can be used pharmaceutically.
To become a pharmaceutical drug, however, researchers must invest several years of their lives and capitalists must invest millions of dollars.
But a 20 percent success rate for a potential pharmaceutical drug with an unknown monetary return, compared to a guaranteed profit from a cholesterol drug finding with the same success rate, doesn’t scream dollar signs to investors with millions at stake.
“We’re actually now in what’s called the ‘valley of death’ between having really promising results but not having it de-risked enough,” Currie said.
To make it through this “valley of death,” Currie has partnered with Andes.
Together, Currie and Andes, as well as two scientists based in Schenectady, New York, have created a startup company called Symbiotic to seek financial resources through federal grants to further their research endeavors on promising insect antibiotic strains.
“That would be sort of the pie-in-the-sky goal,” Andes said. “That this [insect antibiotic research] could keep going, that we could continue to develop new antibiotics that we are discovering.”
Once Currie and Andes are able to find sufficient funds for their research, they hope to patent their antibiotic strains for pharmaceutical use.
WARF, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation at UW-Madison which supports Currie’s research, would be given some of the revenue the antibiotic patent makes, Currie said.
“We as a society need to invest in basic science to identify the innovations that lead to the future biomedical practices that we depend on,” Currie said.
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University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank has had a tumultuous 2016.
With high-profile sexual assault cases and a spike in hate and bias incidents — ranging from swastikas on a dorm room door to a Halloween costume of President Barack Obama in a noose — UW has found itself in the national spotlight. Meanwhile, Blank and the system dealt with the fallout from the last state budget, which cut $250 million from the UW System and took faculty tenure out of state law.
Blank sat down with The Badger Herald to address topics ranging from diversity on campus to faculty retention.
University acknowledges spike in bias incident reports, urges students to show respectOver the past week, the University of Wisconsin has received 16 bias incident reports. In comparison, there were 66 incidents …
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 …
Blank said university administration alone won’t be able to end sexual assault and the movement needs to be a partnership between administration and student grassroots groups.
“At the end of the day, behavior on Saturday night at parties off campus are not going to change because I tell people to behave differently,” Blank said. “They’re going to change because of grassroots changes in behavior by students.”
Blank said education initiatives, like the Tonight program, an online prevention program about sexual assault and dating violence, are one piece of what the university can do to end sexual assault.
A number of student organizations, Blank said, are working on bystander intervention and sexual assault prevention. These initiatives allow students to be the initial front.
“This has to be a partnership, it can’t just be the administration,” Blank said. “It’s got to be the administration together with grassroots groups. None of us are ever really going to stop sexual assault in this society. That is unfortunately, at this moment in time, I fear the reality. But we need to be reducing the numbers, we need to be proving as much support as possible to students who experience it.”Campus diversity
In the days following Donald Trump’s November presidential victory, thousands of UW students gathered at the Capitol to protest sexual assault, and what they see as Trump’s marginalization of minority communities and neglect of women’s rights.
In the week after the presidential election, UW received 16 bias incident reports, according to a UW statement. In comparison, there were 66 incidents reported in the first half of the 2016 fall semester. Blank said the rise in bias reports is not unique to UW.
Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate Patrick Sims is currently implementing diversity efforts that were put in place after a 2014 diversity report. UW has also expanded the SOAR program around inclusivity, Blank said.
“All of [these efforts are] about climate change and culture change and that isn’t something that is fast.” Blank said. “We are in a world where the expression of dislike, of challenge between different groups is as strong as I’ve ever seen it. Whatever is going on out there is going to come back here to this campus.”
In addition to making sure students feel safe on campus, Blank said UW also has an obligation to continue to speak for the value of free speech. Because UW is a public university on public land, much of the campus is public space and students who want to express their opinions in that space have the right to do so, she said.
“Whatever those opinions are and however obnoxious and abhorrent they may be to other people within our community, that is what public space is about and we have to protect that and speak to that,” Blank said.
Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, spoke at a UW event last month. Blank said that though there was a lot of controversy surrounding the event, it was a good example of both students in support of and against Shapiro being able to express their opinions.
While free speech in public spaces is a student’s right, Blank said there are spaces on campus that are not public, including the dormitories. UW has an obligation to respond to these instances and take disciplinary action.
Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro lectures to turbulent crowd on safe spaces, freedom of speechConservative public speaker Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief for DailyWire.com and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, spoke at the University of …
“If I come up to you and get in your face and say nasty and threatening things to you individually, that is different than public speech stated generically out here on Bascom Hill,” Blank said. “That is a form of unacceptable individual assault and behavior that we have to respond to.”
While there are currently students against free speech provisions and students who want to expand free speech provisions to everywhere on campus, Blank said at this moment in time, UW has to “sit in the midst of that uncomfortable balance.”Out-of-state enrollment
In exchange for the state lifting the out-of-state enrollment cap, UW agreed to accept a minimum of 3,600 Wisconsin students in every freshman class. Over the past 10 years, the average number of Wisconsin students in every incoming class has been fewer than 3,600, so Blank said the agreement is indicative of the university’s commitment to the state. She also noted since Wisconsin has experienced a decrease in high school graduates, the increased minimum means that UW will include a greater share of Wisconsinites graduating from high school.
Since the cap was raised, UW will accept more out-of-state students by increasing the freshman class size. Blank said the university receives far more applications from out-of-state students than it has spots to accept them. The move to the Common Application will likely increase applications, so it will not be necessary to direct greater recruiting efforts out-of-state. Instead, Blank said UW will be putting greater efforts into targeting strong in-state candidates.
Out-of-state student enrollment cap removal will transform UW into bougie playgroundThe Board of Regents recently passed a measure supported by Chancellor Rebecca Blank that lifts the out-of-state student enrollment cap, …
Blank said the university wants to become a stronger recruiter of top performing Wisconsin high school students, who usually end up applying to other top national schools instead of UW. The goal is to retain their skills in state since the likelihood of them returning to Wisconsin to work after attending an out-of-state university is low.
To do so, UW launched a campaign that targets students who score 30 or higher on the ACT called the “Prime Campaign.”Budget cuts
Since five of the past six state budgets — which the legislature passes every two years — have included cuts to the UW System, Blank said loss of state revenue has significantly impacted UW for a decade. The majority of cuts were focused on the educational side, causing a decrease in staff, faculty and advisors and an increase in class sizes, Blank said.
“At a time when almost all the other states around us are increasing their higher education funding and investing, every year that we are filling budget holes rather than investing in new ideas and new issues and new opportunities for students, we are falling behind our competitors and that is a problem,” Blank said.
There are four priorities included in the Board of Regents’ 2017-19 biennial operating budget request for the UW-System. Blank said it requests more than $40 million in new money and $50 million in lapse dollars, which were included in the last budget but never given by the state. It also includes a capital budget with funding requests for building, reconstruction and maintenance. Blank said for the first time ever, the last biennial budget did not allocate any money for maintenance costs, and called its exclusion “incredibly irresponsible.”
The Regents’ proposal also includes a request to increase state financial aid, which has been frozen for about the last 10 years, Blank said.
Additionally, if the Legislature decides to continue the in-state tuition freeze — which has been in place for the last four years — the Regents request that it remain in place for only one more year.
“Tuition freeze is a budget cut by another name and I’m very much hoping that in this coming year we are going to be able to have a very different conversation with the state Legislature than we had in five of the last six years,” Blank said.
Despite budget cuts, Blank said over the last eight to 10 years, the university has put $30 million of internal funding into financial aid. She said this has has “more than made up for the decline in state funds.”Faculty retention rate
UW recently lost its National Science Foundation ranking as one of the top five research universities, a stumble that Blank links with Wisconsin’s political climate and a loss of faculty.
Nearly 10 percent of UW faculty received outside offers last year, which Blank said is a result of budget cuts and the national media storm after changes in state tenure policy.
She said when the state “tore up” tenure rules and gave Regents the responsibility of rewriting them, many faculty members were upset and the media misled people to believe tenure was completely eliminated.
The yearlong rewriting process made UW an “incredible recruiting target” for other universities in search of faculty, Blank said. Of the 10 percent who received outside offers, UW managed to retain more than 80 percent of them, she said.
UW’s top faculty bring in millions of dollars in research funding, so the loss of certain members can have a significant impact on the ability of the university to compete in the research field. She said UW lost a few of its top grant receivers andthese departures contributed to UW’s falling ranking.
To maintain faculty, Blank said she is working to build other revenue streams outside of state funds, like increasing summer classes to make it a more viable semester with more significant enrollment.
In addition, the university launched UW2020, a set of funds for early stage research on campus. She said the university is giving select proposals seed money to conduct research to a point where it is attractive to outside funders.
Despite the university’s efforts, Blank said she can’t guarantee it won’t continue to have retention issues. She said she imagines they will continue to struggle until there is an increase in sources of revenue to account for the lower pay most UW faculty members receive compared to other Big Ten schools.
UW faculty are paid about 12 percent less than their peers in the Big Ten, she said.
“That’s not Harvard, Stanford or Yale — that’s in the Big Ten,” Blank said.
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After eight months of protesting, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and thousands of protestors succeeded in delaying the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
The pipeline, in most recent form, was scheduled to be built through sacred Native American lands. Any leaks had to potential to pollute the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
The pipeline’s delay, for many, has been celebrated as a victory for indigenous peoples’ rights and environmental protection.
In October, after Madison City Council passed a resolution expressing solidarity with indigenous resistance to the pipeline, Ald. Rebecca Kemble, District 18, traveled to North Dakota to deliver the resolution to Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II.
While Kemble said nothing about the construction of the pipeline has technically changed since investors are still not pulling out from the project, she still considers it a win for the rights of indigenous people.
While there, Kemble acted as a legal observer, specifically to film interactions between police and indigenous people.
As she was leaving a ceremony at a pipeline site, she was arrested by what she described as “militarized police.”
Kemble will return to North Dakota Jan. 12 to fight charges for destruction of evidence, resisting arrest, inciting a riot and criminal trespassing. With these four charges, she faces up to two years in prison and up to $6,000 in fines.
“It meant a lot to me to get support from my constituents, even those who are conservative voiced their support and concern for me and hope that I will sue for wrongful arrest,” Kemble said. “That near unanimous support for my personal plight was excellent.”
Even though Kemble sees the halt as significant in showing all of the work people did to pressure the Obama Administration to slow down the project, she said the only way it will be a “win” is if creditors start calling in their debts and investors start pulling out.
“I do consider it a win in terms of the federal government actually making a decision supporting the rights of indigenous people over the corporations,” Kemble said.
In the same vein, Kemble believes unless the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is ready to enforce their decision by forcefully removing equipment from the pipeline sites, the construction will continue.
Either way, Kemble sees the “unprecedented unity” of people from all different backgrounds as something to celebrate.
Similarly, Ald. Zach Wood, Distrct 8, said he is pleased and the halt is a big step in the right direction — but the fight isn’t over.
Whether the pipeline will be rerouted or remain in the same place, Wood said there are also environmental concerns that need to be met.
Along with expressing solidarity with tribal sovereignty, Wood said he hopes to see the Madison community continue valuing water natural resources and our environment.
“We need to continue vigilance. As a number of people have noted, this is not a done deal,” Wood said. “Unless [the pipeline] is killed entirely or goes somewhere else, the fight is not over.”
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University of Wisconsin students, faculty and administration are signing a petition they hope will signal to state legislators their disapproval of a bill that would allow concealed carry on all UW campuses.
Experts worry campus concealed carry won’t mix with UW drinking cultureIn many states across the country, legislation that allows concealed carry, a license which grants an individual the ability to …
Republicans lawmakers have been planning to push the bill —which would prohibit the university from banning firearms on campus — in the new session January. Legislators introduced the bill last session, but it failed to pass.
The Associated Students of Madison Legislative Affairs Committee started the petition in response to the possibility of the legislation coming up again next session.
Other states, including Texas, have passed similar legislation.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Fox News a law like Texas’ would probably have prevented this week’s shooting at Ohio State University.
“It’s instances like this where kids on campus could have guns, where they could have been able to respond initially,” Abbott said. “I think that on a college campus like here in Texas, people will think twice before waging an attack like this knowing that they could be gunned down immediately.”
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University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate proposed a $4,000 increase in out-of-state tuition to meet rising operation costs and cushion the impact of budget cuts Monday.
The increase is part of a four-year plan from UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank to raise tuition for nonresident undergraduates and some professional school students. UW System Board of Regents only approved a two-year plan and decided to deliberate on the remaining two years at a later date. Blank pushed proposals for the remaining two years in the Faculty Senate meeting Monday.
The Board of Regents will vote on the proposal at their meeting Thursday.
“We don’t make a decision to increase tuition lightly,” Blank wrote in a blog post. “We have a responsibility to maintain access to UW-Madison for Wisconsin students and to maintain lower tuition for our in-state students.”
Blank looks to increase out-of-state tuition to help fund facultyChancellor Rebecca Blank’s request to increase tuition for out-of-state and professional students has been met with mixed reviews. While some …
The plan will also raise tuition for both in and out-of-state students in some professional programs. According the statement from Blank, tuition will increase by at least 10 percent for most programs, including a nearly $10,000 increase over two years for all students in the UW School of Business’ Global Real Estate Masters program.
Tuition for students in UW Law School, School of Medicine and Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and School of Veterinary Medicine is also expected to rise.
Blank said UW’s operation costs are rising while state aid is decreasing. Cuts in the 2015-17 budget left the university with a $86 million deficit, which was filled with some increases in nonresident and professional school tuition. The current proposal will provide $9.6 million in additional funding, which will help expand programs and meet needs across campus, she said.
“The new revenue is very important as a way to address substantial needs across campus, and all of the new dollars will be put back into support that aids the student experience,” Blank said.
Wisconsin residents might see higher tuition prices in the next academic yearAfter three years of an in-state tuition freeze, University of Wisconsin System officials are considering lifting the cap after the 2017-18 …
Blank said she does not expect the proposed increase in nonresident tuition will turn away students. The number of nonresident applicants increased from 11,284 in 2006 to 21,664 in 2016. Blank predicts applications will continue to come in increasing numbers as UW moves to the Common Application platform.
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University of Wisconsin System became among the first in the nation to recommend a systemwide sexual violence and harassment training for all employees and students Monday.
Instead of having each individual institution create its own program, UW System Sexual Violence and Harassment Task Force’s report includes recommendations that will apply to all system institutions, UW System spokesperson Stephanie Marquis said.
“The UW System is among the first in the nation to take this type of comprehensive approach versus having individual institutions implement training, update policies, etc.” Marquis said.
UW student facing multiple counts of sexual assault released on signature bondFollowing his arrest Monday evening, University of Wisconsin senior Alec Cook was released Wednesday on a $500 signature bond. Cook …
The training will primarily take place online and include topics like “healthy relationships, bystander intervention and the Campus Save Act,” Marquis said. The Campus Save Act requires higher education institutions to educate students, faculty and staff on sexual assault, rape, domestic violence and other related topics. Training for students has already begun while employees will complete theirs by the end of the current academic year.
The UW System Board of Regents has created a new comprehensive policy that will consolidate formerly separate policies on sexual violence and harassment, Marquis said. This policy will serve as a template to standardize policies across system institutions. The task force also recommends revisiting policies on consensual relationships.
Marquis said the recommendations also include developing a website connecting victims of sexual violence or harassment with campus support services like counseling, medical assistance and reporting information. It will also serve as a source of information for UW System policies and state and federal laws, among other resources. The site is expected to launch by the end of 2016, she said.
UW System also looks to discuss research and approaches to address sexual violence and harassment across institutions, Marquis said.
“[The recommendations include] creation of an inter-educational collaborative effort bringing together educational stakeholders from K-12 schools, technical colleges, private colleges and the UW System to discuss and share research and approaches to address sexual violence and harassment,” Marquis said.
UW System President Ray Cross has accepted the task force’s report and recommendations and has already approved some parts of the training program. The report will be presented at the Board of Regents meeting Thursday.
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University of Wisconsin freshman Alec Shiva’s defense attorney has scheduled him to appear for a preliminary hearing Dec. 27.
Shiva appeared at the Dane County courthouse Monday afternoon for a status conference with his attorney Robert Brendan Hurley.
At the hearing, the 18-year-old is expected to face a six-count criminal complaint comprised of three felony and three misdemeanor charges against one female.
During the time of the incident, police reported Shiva was high on the psychoactive drug LSD.
The official criminal complaint includes one count of second degree sexual assault, one count of strangulation and suffocation, one count of false imprisonment, one count of battery, one count of criminal damage to property and one count of disorderly conduct.
The preliminary hearing determines whether or not there is enough evidence against defendant for them to stand trial.
Court commissioner Jason Hanson released Shiva on a signature bond Nov. 14 with the condition that he reports to the Dane County Bail Monitoring Program.
Shiva is currently under emergency suspension from the university and is prohibited from entering UW property.
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An unknown person or persons set a pickup truck ablaze and spray painted it with anti-Trump slogans Friday evening.
According to the Madison Police Department incident report, the Dodge Ram pickup was found in a parking lot in the 1600 block of South Park Street after a bystander called to report the fire.
MPD contacted the owner of the vehicle, a 27-year old Madison resident who was at a holiday party during the time of the incident.
The victim said he didn’t know who would want to damage his car and did not partake in any “heated” political debates at the holiday party.
The case has been referred to the Madison Fire Department for further investigation, MPD spokesperson Joel DeSpain said.
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Judge James Peterson late Friday denied a federal lawsuit served earlier in the day by two Trump PACs aiming to end recount efforts in Wisconsin.
Peterson did not completely turn down the case, electing to hold a hearing Dec. 9 to hear arguments.
The lawsuit served Friday morning by the Great America PAC and Stop Hillary PAC — two political committees that support Trump — asked a judge from Wisconsin’s Western District court to stop the election recount that is expected to run until Dec. 12.
— Laurel White (@lkwhite) December 2, 2016
Peterson denied the PACs’ request for a temporary restraining order on the state’s presidential recount because “the plaintiffs have made no showing that they will be irreparably harmed by allowing the recount to continue during the time it would take … [to] give defendants an opportunity to respond to plaintiffs’ motion.”
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 …
The plaintiffs alleged the standards which Wisconsin officials will follow for the presidential recount are too arbitrary to satisfy the country’s Equal Protection Clause. Further, they argue the recount may not be completed by Dec. 13, threatening Wisconsin’s capacity to adhere to federal safe harbor laws.
The “safe harbor” laws require states to resolve any election issues by Dec.13, right before when the Electoral College meets Dec.19 to formally elect the next president.
Although the recount is expected to go until Dec.12, the plaintiffs believe it still may spoil Trump’s Electoral College victory.
The defendants, the Wisconsin Elections Commissions, responded to the suit via a Twitter message.
Recount will continue unless a judge orders otherwise. Keep counting!
— Wisconsin Elections (@WI_Elections) December 2, 2016
Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s campaign managers voiced their support for WEC and her plans to defend the recount in an email Friday morning.
“Citizens in Wisconsin and across the country have made it clear that they want a recount and deserve to see this process through to ensure integrity in the vote,” Matthew Brinckerhoff, lead attorney for the Stein campaign’s recount effort, said.
According to official election results, Trump won Wisconsin by 22,177 votes. WEC Chairman Mark Thomsen said he anticipates the recount to uphold Trump’s original victory.
Post updated at 4:21 p.m. to include Judge Peterson’s denial of request.
Post updated at 4:31 p.m. to include Peterson’s arguments.
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More than 3,000 University of Wisconsin employees will not receive proposed raises or overtime eligibility after a federal judge temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s federal regulations governing overtime pay.
UW had scheduled the proposed salary increases to take effect Thursday.
According to a UW statement, the U.S. Department of Labor made modifications to the Fair Labor Standards Act earlier this year. On Nov. 22, however, a federal judge ruled that the DOL did not have the authority to make those changes.
These changes would have required employees that earned less than $47,476 annually to be paid overtime for working any hours over 40 hours a week.
Prior to the order, employees that earned less than $23,660 would be paid overtime.
UW planned to increase the salary of 760 campus employees, and 2,111 additional employees would have transitioned from salaried to hourly work, UW spokesperson John Lucas told the Wisconsin State Journal.
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After nearly three hours of debates and budget hearings, the University of Wisconsin Student Services Finance Committee voted to impeach Rep. Tyriek Mack Thursday.
Mack had previously faced impeachment from the Associated Students of Madison body as a whole the night before at a general meeting. He beat impeachment with a 20-1 vote, with the sole vote against him coming from Rep. Katrina Morrison.
Mack responded to Morrison’s vote against him through a Facebook post that would later become a point of debate during the Thursday SSFC meeting.
Both Morrison and ASM Chair Carmen Gosey appeared before SSFC to voice their distaste with Mack’s post.
“The post Rep. Mack made is despicable and further marginalizes black women,” Gosey said. “Black men do not recognize this toxic behavior, and they can’t see that [this type of behavior] upholds the patriarchy.”
Mack responded by asking Gosey about Morrison’s voting record on Black Lives Matter policies, particularly her silence on the UWPD weapons transparency bill.
While Gosey admitted Morrison did not vote in favor of that particular bill, she pointed to Morrison’s track record of spearheading the Our Wisconsin program, consistently showing up for meetings and “sitting down for meetings with white administrators” in defense of her commitment to ASM.
“It’s ridiculous and unacceptable that I have to be up here and defend my voting record and character,” Morrison said. “I’ve been accused of tokenizing a black man. I don’t have that power as a black person or a woman.”
Despite finding Mack’s post “problematic,” Rep. Miona Short said ASM’s political platform was not the place to discuss “one’s hurt feelings.”
Short said there are places other than ASM to discuss issues in the black community concerning black men and women.
Instead, Short recommended creating a space where the issue of the divide in the black community could be addressed.
“When you get on social media and discuss your feelings, be careful how it comes off,” Short said. “It’s fine to totally disagree with someone without touting one’s privilege and bringing one’s identity into question.”
Having only appeared for six meetings this semester, Mack’s attendance was called into question.
Several committee members, such as SSFC Chair Colin Barushok, found his unexcused absences unacceptable.
But Mack attributed his absences to personal issues.
The current political climate, particularly the election of Donald Trump, led to him stay at home and focus on his mental well-being. One missed meeting, he said, was directly related to his participation in the anti-Trump protest on campus.
Mack also mentioned how one of his friends had a “visceral” reaction to the election, and he was concerned for his mental health. Instead of going to one of the meetings, he decided to support his friend.
“I feel like if I’m removed from this position because I helped a friend in a time of need, I will feel bad,” Mack said. “But at the same time, I have no regrets. The wellness of my friend is directly linked to my own wellness.”
After hearing his testimony and back-and-forth debate, the committee voted to impeach Mack with a 8-1-4 vote.
The committee also voted to remove Rep. Natasha Thimmesh, citing her growing list of unexcused absences as grounds for impeachment. Thimmesh was not present to defend herself at the meeting.
Aside from the impeachments, the committee approved the budget of Badger Catholic, a Catholic student organization on campus. They did not make any adjustments to the original budget proposal.
Wunk Sheek, a Native American student organization whose membership was approved in early October, appeared before the committee to present their requested budget for the 2017-18 academic school year.
Wunk Sheek highlights community ties in SSFC meetingUniversity of Wisconsin’s Student Services Finance Committee Monday heard a presentation from Native American student organization Wunk Sheek that encouraged broader …
In total, Wunk Sheek’s budget requested $71,000 from SSFC. Approximately $49,000 will be allocated toward preserving spiritual and cultural customs of indigenous people and becoming a source of information for indigenous students.
SSFC will meet Monday to vote on Wunk Sheek’s budget.
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The Wisconsin Elections Commission officially kicked off recount efforts in Dane County Thursday morning.
After former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein paid the $3.5 million necessary to proceed with the recount, she sued WEC to compel districts to hand count ballots.
While Dane County Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn struck down this motion, local officials agreed to count the ballots by hand.
Madison’s City Hall reserved two rooms for the election recount, with ballots from the city of Madison taking up the majority of space in room 354.
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said a group of 40 workers is overseeing the election recount.
McDonell said he expects the recount effort to continue until Dec. 12.
At the moment, McDonell said they haven’t had any issues with ballots and anticipate this to continue.
Another Wisconsinite will join President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, according to an announcement this week.
Following former Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus’s appointment to Chief of Staff, Republican Rep. Sean Duffy who represents a northern Wisconsin district, has been chosen to serve on Trump’s transition team as an executive committee member.
The congressman has supported Trump throughout his campaign.
Trump, Johnson sweep Wisconsin in historic night for RepublicansIn a historic sweep of battleground states that blindsided pollsters and analysts, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed victory early Wednesday …
Several Wisconsin GOP members withdrew support for Trump when a controversial 2005 video where Trump made disparaging remarks toward women was leaked.
But Duffy refused to withdraw his support. Despite finding Trump’s comments “reprehensible,” the congressman said he “never endorsed Donald Trump because of his stance on women or his family values.”
“I endorsed [Trump] for his policies — defeating ISIS, securing our border and growing our economy. Four years of Hillary Clinton would be unacceptable,” Duffy said in an earlier statement.
UW regent defends Trump after lewd remarksHouse Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, condemned the recent comments of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but many Wisconsin Republicans have not followed suit. …
With Duffy set to depart for D.C. come Jan. 20, Wisconsin Democrats voiced their distaste with the congressman’s decision to “choose Trump’s swamp over Wisconsin.”
In a Thursday news release, Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Brandon Weathersby said Duffy is “embracing Donald Trump’s revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.”
“While Duffy promised Wisconsin voters Trump would ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, he is now cozying up to the corporate lobbyists, big banks and Wall Street insiders,” Weathersby said.
Duffy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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