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0906, 16 Jul 15

UW Professor Tells Incoming Freshman to Stay Away

This woman is a loon.

An outspoken University of Wisconsin-Madison professor is under fire for finding future Badgers on Twitter and allegedly harassing them — as well as for comparing Scott Walker to Adolf Hitler.

Sara Goldrick-Rab is a professor of educational policy studies and sociology with a national profile in both her field of research and the ongoing debate over faculty tenure in Wisconsin public universities. She has openly said she’s looking for another job because she believes academic freedom is in jeopardy in Wisconsin.


It all started with a photo that a future Badger posted May 31 on Twitter of himself and his friends in their high school graduation caps and gowns, smiling and forming the Wisconsin “W” with their hands.

“On (to) Wisconsin!” the tweet exclaimed. It was tagged @UWMadison #FutureBadgers, and the young man included the Twitter handles of the five other students in the photo.

Six days later, Goldrick-Rab reached out to all six students on Twitter: “I hate to bring bad news but,” her tweet began. She then linked to an opinion piece published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with the headline: “Threats to shared governance and tenure put mission of UW at risk.”

“No one cares sara,” one of the students replied.

“Oh good. I thought you want a degree of value. Too bad,” Goldrick-Rab responded.

“Who are you lol” another student replied.

One student in his reply alluded to a hot-button statement earlier this year by Walker, a Republican presidential candidate: “thanks for sharing, but isn’t it better if professors to (sic) teach more classes? Cuts seem pretty tame w/political environment” the student tweeted.

Goldrick-Rab, a self-proclaimed liberal, replied: “It isn’t the cuts. If this goes through, we are all leaving. No joke.”

She was referring to faculty who are upset about the state budget that Walker signed Sunday, which includes provisions allowing tenured faculty to be laid off “when deemed necessary” for budget reasons or program changes. Previously, tenured faculty could only be laid off in a financial emergency or for malfeasance. The state budget gave the UW System Board of Regents authority to create a tenure policy that specifies what would be required for a layoff to be “deemed necessary.”

As her Twitter conversation with the future Badgers continued, Goldrick-Rab tweeted a link to a New York Times story about the tenure debate in Wisconsin.

“We don’t want students 2 waste their $. It’s info that’s all,” her tweet said. “University is changing as we speak. Maybe look at info?”

A few thoughts come to mind. First, in a normal business, this professor would be fired immediately. She is publicly seeking new employment as she is publicly telling her current employer’s customers to go elsewhere. It’s akin to the McDonald’s employee who announces that he is applying to Taco Bell telling customers at the counter that the food sucks and they should go elsewhere. If she doesn’t find a new job, what kind of education can our kids expect from her in the classroom? She clearly lacks the professionalism to keep her politics out of her work.

Second, since she hasn’t been fired, can we assume that this is the kind of “academic freedom” that tenure protects? Her behavior is merely making the decision by the legislature to remove tenure from state statutes seem like a better and better decision.

Third, any university who hires her now is insane. Who would want this cancer in their faculty? Who would want a person who publicly and aggressively attacks incoming freshman when she gets upset at her job situation?

Finally, check out her scheduled teaching:


She hasn’t taught a class since the Spring of 2013 and she’s only scheduled to teach 2 courses this Fall. She has taught two classes in 3-and-a-half years. What value is Wisconsin getting out of paying this professor? Is this what we’re paying for?


0906, 16 July 2015


  1. Kevin scheunemann

    This is typical at big UW campuses.

    Lazy, ungrateful, hateful, liberal, professors, who don’t teach much at all, rebeling against simple common sense.

    Walker should go back and cut the other $50 million now and name the cut after this alleged educator.

  2. Fairs Fare

    She is an adjunct/part time untenured professor from what I can gather. Correct me if I’m wrong. Besides for the labels Kevin has added isn’t the adjunct/part time untenured professor what the new law was designed to create? Did you know that member/members of The Walker administration contacted UW administration and asked them to silence her after the law as passed. There’s a lot of B.S. coming out of both sides on this one.

  3. Kevin Scheunemann


    I don’t get it. Dripping, spewing, liberal hate is to be defended to the death from being silenced, but simple speech with a possible religious component is verboten? It’s OK to silence Chrsitians for their speech, but in this case its not?

    I need a political correctness dictionary.

  4. Fairs Fare

    Dripping, spewing, hate comes from people like you constantly slamming every move others make. I don’t agree with her contacting incoming freshman. That is loony! However, the amount of class hours or if see teaches may not have anything to do with tenure. I have a friend who works for a local K-12 system. She’s doesn’t teach at all, she’s a social worker with a masters degree but is a full time staff member with full tenure. UW system may operate differently. I don’t exactly know all the details. Furthermore, this isn’t a regular business (privately owned) it’s a public institution and as a tax paying member of society she has a right to voice her opinion. I would go as far to say that, even though it’s loony, she has the right to inform incoming freshman of changes. I don’t agree but her right to free speech, in this situation, will be protected. Kevin, there is no comparison between this and the separation of church and state. Nice try but let’s stay on point.

  5. Fairs Fare

    Thanks Paul

  6. Kevin Scheunemann


    Translation: It’s OK to silence Christian speech, but you criticized Walker for trying to silence this nonsense?

    This is the danger when silencing others becomes a standard in this country, thanks to anti-free speech liberals.

    I still don’t understand your political correctness distinction here on silencing.

    She is telling people the UW product stinks and students should not come to UW. UW is her employer. Her employer has right to tell her to stop bad mouthing the business. The UW-Faculty Senate sided against her. where was your criticism for that? You went right for Walker, instead of the Faculty Senate.

  7. Fairs Fare

    I know it’s hard for you to stay on point but this has nothing to do with “your” Christianity. She still has her job and I think she should have been told to stop. I think a UW realized if they fired her she probably would have recourse. The Walker camp went after her after the fact. The distinction is a UW is a public entity and all citizens are entitled to criticize even if they are employed there. I’m sure UW would have loved to terminate her employment at that moment but saw legal issues. Her time will come. The reason I mentioned Walker is because of the constant talk of and support of free speech and the first amendment. I guess it’s just one more example of free speech only applying when a Kevin wants it to.

  8. Fairs Fare

    Did anyone do any research on this women or was the one JS article (that was not well researched) good enough to draw such a limited and narrow view? Her main role the past couple of years is not as an in classroom professor. She runs a research lab that she created as well as other things. She is directly responsible for bringing in $12,653,000 in research grants to UW. Her salary and the potential dis enrollment of the six students doesn’t add up to the 12.6 million. Add a potential lawsuit into the mix and UW isn’t getting rid if her anytime soon. Her time won’t come. Well at least until 2018 when her last grant runs out. I will stick with, although loony, she has a right to express her opinions and even share them with others. The more I read about this it’s just more witch hunt B.S. Don’t get me wrong… she is loony and she went about it the wrong way but I’m sure she learned her lesson. As a good Christian I’m willing to forgive if she’s willing to apologize. Wait, she has already. What really sucks is soon UW won’t have as many tenured professors that bring in millions and millions of grant dollars and it will be the students and the taxpayers that foot the bill. Or UW stops doing research and that will have a direct impact on the states economy. Thanks Walker.

  9. Kevin Scheunemann


    My point is: you criticized Walker above for telling her to stop. That is where the hilarity in your silencing standard became interesting.

  10. Fairs Fare

    What silencing standard are you talking about? I have the right to criticize Walker for whatever I want. If you are trying to bring “your” religion back into this and some how blame me for the separation of church and state then my opinion would be… Seek help. Didn’t you say that you support an individuals right to say anything they want no matter how stupid or foolish? Once again, you have a double standard for every situation and you try and justify it with “your” religion. Answer the questions on the other thread and I will show what a hypocrite you are. Wait… I already have.

  11. Fairs Fare

    John Sharpless, a UW professor and Republican, has had similar if not harsher criticisms of Walker, the funding cuts and the tenure changes. Sharpless has voiced those opinions using all forms of media and communications. Sharpless has also spoken about/advised about the effects of the policy changes. Why didn’t the Walker camp try to silence him or contact UW administrators about his behavior?

  12. Owen

    First off, I don’t think the “Walker Camp” is involved at all here. Second, there is a difference between being vocal for a=or against public policies and actively seeking out students and telling them to not attend the university.

  13. Fairs Fare

    I’m glad to see you taking an active role in the debate, it is after all your blog. May I, respectfully, suggest you do some more research. First, the Walker camp is involved according to several news columns I have read. One actually said UW administrators confirmed the call for silence by the Walker camp. I will try and re-find those sources and provide them but they would be just as easily accessed by any journalist worth their salt. The JS journalist failed. Second, your comments go much further then simply asserting she actively sought out the students and wrongly advised them. You also fail to acknowledge how this escalated on both sides, students and professor, from an innocent comment to sarcasm and banter. Also, follow the timeline and ask yourself who conspired the follow up remarks . I have said she was wrong. She was the adult in the Twitter “room”. To assume because she wasn’t fired no discipline took place is wrong. Since, employee files are confidential we will probably never no the answer. You also assumed because of the posted schedule she wasn’t earning her pay or had no other responsibilities. Even Kevin called her lazy base on your assumption. This lady is anything but lazy and the value UW is getting out of this professor is $12.6 million and a full time staff member that teaches and runs a lab, as well as other duties. Furthermore, both federal and state laws have been specifically established to protect public sector employees from this type of scrutiny. They have every right to use their voice. She did apologize. What more do you want. Are you not capable of mistakes. What Republicans really want is to fire the witch and put an adjunct untenured professor in her place. The timing of this being released is also curious. Why not make it public immediately. It was a coordinated effort. As I said, there is a lot of B.S. coming out of both sides on this one.

  14. Fairs Fare

    As for Goldrick-Rab comparing Walker to Hitler, she didn’t. Her grandfather did, as she clearly states. I can name and give the quotes of many people on this site, as well as others, that have compared public officials to all sorts of disparaging things or people. This type of nonsense comes from both sides of the ignorance aisle.

  15. the bystander

    So you defend John McAdams personal attack on a student, but Goldrick-Rab is out of line? Hmmmmmmm

  16. Fairs Fare

    The bystander,
    Great example and even better example of pointing out the double standards and hypocrisies that exist. Don’t do as we do, do as we say.

  17. Fairs Fare

    Skewing the facts is intellectually dishonest and professionally irresponsible.

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