Boots & Sabers

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1708, 06 Sep 16

UW Fails Diversity Test

As I discussed in my column a few weeks ago, universities are increasingly monolithic in the thoughts they allow to be expressed on their campuses. Speaker Robin Vos illustrates one example of the lack of diversity in the UW system over on Right Wisconsin.

Our review found roughly $2.7 million was spent on guest speakers in 2015. UW-Milwaukee spent more on speakers than any other school. Not surprisingly, a large number were easily identifiable as being liberal. The same was true with smaller schools. The largest amount paid for a single speaker was at UW-Platteville. Kathy Ober , a former professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and co-founder of the Social Justice Training Institute spoke three times for a total of $45,000. Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, was one of the highest paid speakers for an individual speech at UW-La Crosse last December . The UW System schools have invited actors, writers, musicians and even a local farmer to speak to students, each with a varying price tag to taxpayers.

What is noticeably absent in the top paid speakers to the UW System were individuals with conservative, political or social, perspectives. Within the top 50 taxpayer-funded guest speakers, we identified less than a handful of conservatives. Sure, there could be a plethora of conservatives who refused to accept any honoraria, but I doubt it.

The data suggests that when UW System officials look to invest in an invited guest, more times than not, they’re looking for a liberal-minded individual to disperse information to the young, developing minds who pay them thousands of dollars for their education.


1708, 06 September 2016


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    UW will suport every perversion under the sun.

    When Bill Bennett came to UW Milwaukee to talk about the Book of Virtues…that was met by liberal protests, derision, and liberal hate mongering. Liberal heads almost exploded when it was found out that his speaking fee was partly funded through this mechanism.

    UW liberalism has utter contempt for anyone indicating the consequence of liberal immorality.

  2. jjf

    I suspect Vos didn’t dig very deep. What about the many situations where students were the ones picking the speakers?

    There are also many speakers hired by students groups with money they raised on their own. If conservative students want conservative speakers, why aren’t they bringing them in on their own? For that matter, there are conservative professors who’d probably speak for free if you asked them nicely. That’s what we did when I was a student.

    For that matter, even the link to Michael Sam’s event shows that there’s a ticket price for students and the public, so they are raising money to offset speaker’s fees.

    He’s also oblivious to what might actually happen during a lecture or presentation. Most of these people are talking about their intellectual pursuits, not politics. It’s only Vos who is putting a “liberal” label on them. Even if someone was speaking in opposition to an idea or a political belief system, wouldn’t they need to present the opposing view in order to argue against it?

    Vos is a bully. It’s bizarre to use the term “free speech” when what he’s actually doing is flexing his budgetary muscle and threatening the UW staff with more cuts.

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