Defend Havens Center, academic freedom
I read with interest the article "Steve Nass, Ideological Warrior" (2/4/11) about Rep. Nass' attack on the UW-Madison Havens Center. What struck me most is the historical parallel from 1894, when professor Richard T. Ely was attacked for teaching socialism and radicalism.
That dispute led to the university's enthusiastic endorsement of academic freedom, which eventually became the norm nationwide. At that time, the institution's leaders pronounced: "Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state university of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found."
This statement is mounted on the front of Bascom Hall. As it implies, a crucial role of the university in our society is to foment the free flow of ideas, debate and dialogue. The Havens Center is an important way that UW-Madison fulfills that role.
Prof. Jess Gilbert, Member, Havens Center Steering Committee
What do Christian Schneider and Charlie Sheen have in common (Opinion: "Marty Beil's Politics of Division," 2/11/11)? Both are terribly unfunny and make me want to retch.
Seriously, Schneider, you start your article citing "new tone" as if you have some moral superiority and proceed to write the most juvenile article Isthmus has ever printed. Public employees, especially teachers, deserve every penny they earn and the best damn benefits we can provide.
The people Beil calls whores are just that; they received payment in either money or political favors to throw public employees under the bus. My only question is: What did they pay Schneider to bend over and help?
Christian Schneider [chides] Marty Beil, head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, for accusing former Sens. Russ Decker and Jeff Plale of engaging in the world's oldest profession when they voted against ratification of long-overdue state employee labor contracts. (Plale was soon named head of state facilities in the administration of Scott Walker.)
Schneider cited schoolteachers as handsomely paid public employees, but Marty Beil doesn't represent teachers. He represents food-service workers who start at $12 an hour and prison guards who make $15 an hour, not including benefits.
Things are tough in the private sector, too. The Wisconsin State Journal just reported that Mark Zimmerman, the former CEO of Anchor Bank, took a 24% pay cut, to $350,000 a year.