Some criticism has been leveled at officials with the University of Wisconsin, over the cancellation of some classes on the Madison campus when President Obama campaigned in the city. Assembly Speaker elect Robin Vos leveled the charges on Thursday.
“I think that they obviously are pretty tone-deaf, to say that if we think politics should trump having kids get a good education,” Vos told those attending a WisPolitics luncheon in Madison. “They made the mistake once, and then they had an opportunity to do it again, and they canceled classes a second time. I think that’s a clear indicator to me that the people at the university just don’t get it.”
AUDIO: Rep. Robin Vos (1:50)
The President campaigned on campus on October 4th, and held a rally in Madison the day before the election. “If Kevin Reilly was doing his job, he would have said to the campus, “you need to make sure that you have classes, so kids can go to school and not participate in a political event,” but he didn’t.” Vos suggested that UW officials will have a hard time in the next budget if they have that kind of attitude. “It’s not going to be a tit for tat. But when they come to us and ask us for more money, all of those things are considerations,” Vos said.
“Classes were not canceled at any time campus-wide,” said Dave Giroux, Executive Director for Communications with the UW System. “They were canceled in certain buildings that needed to be closed for security reasons. At this point I think it’s our responsibility to answer Speaker Vos’ questions. We’re going to make very effort to see that we do just that.”
Vince Sweeney, Vice Chancellor for University Relations at UW Madison, also released a statement in response to Vos’ concerns.
“As a graduate of one of our UW System schools and a former Board of Regent, Rep. Vos has continued interest as to how we at UW-Madison try to live up to our public mission. We appreciate that interest and his unique background and expertise. He and other members of the state legislature have always shown an interest in listening closely to us not only during budget discussions but on issues in higher education in general. While we don’t always agree, but the lines of communication have always remained open and we appreciate that. We look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Vos and other legislators moving forward.”