UW WhitewaterBy Ethan Hollenberger

“As undergraduates in the College of Letters and Sciences,
students develop diverse perspectives, civic responsibility and
engagement, and personal and professional integrity while preparing
for careers and life-long learning.”
— UW – Whitewater College of
Letters & Sciences Mission Statement

College mission statements pay lip service to the development of
“diverse perspectives.” Increasingly, such declarations are
becoming nothing more than feel-good jargon. The University of
Wisconsin – Whitewater’s College of Letters & Sciences
Contemporary Issues Lecture Series is run by associate professor of
political science Susan Johnson and Dean Mary Pinkerton.

For the current academic year, the speakers are all far Left.
The lecture series, now in its eighth year, has a budget of $55,000
with $34,221 coming from the Letters & Sciences’ budget
(tuition dollars and taxpayer subsidy). The honoraria for the
speakers are as follows: 

  • Josh Fox – $10,000 – Fox is an environmentalist documentary
    filmmaker and spoke on the
    “dangers” of fracking using controversial research.
  • Joan Garry – $8,000 – Garry is a top LGBT activist, served on
    Obama 2008 campaign, and
    donated
     $9,000 to Democrats since 2007. She spoke on the “Media
    and its Impact on Changing Hearts and Minds”.
  • Brooke Hauser – $12,000 – Hauser has supported giving
    undocumented immigrants in-state tuition rates. In an interview,
    she called for the California
    Dream Act
     to become national law. She once said “no human is illegal”.
  • Andrew Leonard – $8,000 – Leonard is a Salon.com
    blogger. He has written columns attacking conservative leaders and corporate America.
  • Doug McAdam – $7,000 – As a Stanford Sociology Professor, McAdam
    wrote a
    column
     opposing the Citizens United Supreme Court
    decision. He also called Tea Party backed congressmen with “narrow
    ideological commitment” a threat to democracy in America.
  • Elizabeth Royte – $7,000 – Royte is a hardened environmentalist
    and climate change advocate. She frequently blogs on man-made climate
    change, bottle hysteria, and fracking dangers.

Despite each speaker’s clear liberal ideology the university
denies any bias. According to the university’s spokesman, Sara J.
Kuhl, “We select the speakers based upon their topic, current
interest in the topic, relevance to our Gen Ed program
(particularly the Core courses), national recognition, and ability
to engage an audience productively.  We do not take
ideological positions into account.”

Letters & Sciences Dean Mary Pinkerton wrote in an email,
“Susan Johnson is the coordinator of the lecture series.  She
and I solicit suggestions from faculty.  We also try to
identify topics of current interest, particularly those that can be
integrated into our Gen Ed Core courses.  We always try to
have at least one lecture that is focused on some issue related to
science.  Part of the intent of the lecture series is to
engage students in thinking critically about issues that are
relevant today.  Most of the speakers we bring to campus are
award winners (Pulitzer, etc.) with national reputations.  The
lectures also draw members of the community, and the
question/answer session following the lecture is often the best
part. Many different viewpoints are expressed there.”

It should be noted university spokesman Sara
J. Kuhl
 joined liberal Wisconsinites in 2012 and signed
the recall petition of conservative Governor Scott Walker. Joining
her was the university’s representative for the speakers’
contracts, Ron
Buchholz
, the Director of Career & Leadership at
Whitewater.

Another intriguing side note about Whitewater is their powerful
conservative alumni. Reince Priebus graduated from the College of Letters &
Sciences in 1994 and was student body president.  The university might be eager to showcase him in their lecture
series.

If universities advertise the inclusion of “diverse
perspectives” in the literature to attract students and toot their
own horns, they should honor that commitment from their obviously
deceptive ads. To honor and include diverse opinions-especially on
ultra-liberal university campuses-means bringing in speakers with
diverse ideological perspectives.

Ethan Hollenberger, age 22, is a conservative activist from
Wisconsin. While in college, he was a founding member of his
campus’ Young American’s for Freedom chapter.  He can be
contacted at ethan.hollenberger@gmail.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @EHollenberger.

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