Talk:University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Racial composition

It has one of the smallest minority enrollments among major schools, with only 11.5% of its student population being African American (2.7%), Asian American (5.2%), Native American (0.6%) or Hispanic (3%).

UW draws its students primarily from the State of Wisconsin. Those numbers don't seem wildly discordant with the racial makeup of Wisconsin, which is only about 12.7% minorities:[1]

87.3% White
5.7% Black
3.6% Hispanic
1.7% Asian
1.2% Mixed race
0.9% Native American

Dpbsmith 21:27, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Here's a comparison with a few other Big Ten schools (Illinois is Fall 04, the rest Fall 06):
School %Black %Hispanic %Asian %Native American
Wisconsin 2.7 3.0 5.2 0.6
Wisconsin-Milwaukee 7 4 ? ?
Illinois 6.6 5.9 11.1 0.2
Michigan 6.2 4.4 12.0 0.8
Iowa 2.3 2.7 3.5 0.5
Michigan St. 7.9 2.9 5.3 0.8
Indiana 4.5 2.2 3.5 0.2
Murray 15:55, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
No time now, but if you know a good place to find them: I'd like to see the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee figures. Minnesota, because it's adjacent to Wisconsin, and because the two states have a reciprocal agreement to treat students from the other state as if they were "in-state" (so there are a lot of Minnesota students at University of Wisconsin, and vice versa). UW-Milwaukee, because Milwaukee is the only big city in Wisconsin, and I think that a lot of the African-Americans in Wisconsin are in fact in Milwaukee. Dpbsmith 16:28, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
UW-Milwaukee is still working on it[2] --Mtur 16:34, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
You're right that a large proportion of African Americans in the state are in Milwaukee. I actually tried to find the figures for U. Minnesota as well, but on their website could only find figures for the Crookston campus, not the Twin Cities. Will try again when I have a moment. Murray 16:42, 26 April 2007 (EDT). Found some of them for UWM. Murray 16:44, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Of note, the tuition rates are capped at rather low values for instate residents. I would be curious to see what state schools have a significantly different racial makeup than the state they are in. Currently, for 12 credits for a semester it is $3365.12. For an instate resident to pay so little for a semester of college at a world class university makes for a large percentage of the college bound students head there. I would also be curious to see if that enrollment is the undergrad or the graduate population. --Mtur 21:35, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
Found something--reference is on Aschlafly's talk page--that says out-of-state enrollment is capped at 25% and "hovers" at that level... but that that doesn't count students from Minnesota, who are treated as instate (and pay instate tuition) under a reciprocal agreement between the states. Dpbsmith 10:40, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Wisconsin has "a conservative population?"

Wisconsin defies that sort of casual stereotyping. Even though it is the state of Joseph McCarthy, it is also the birthplace of the Progressive Movement, and it elected numerous Socialist mayors in Milwaukee. Dpbsmith 21:30, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Purple America shows the county by county break down of elections for 1960-2004. In 2004, Wisconsin was fairly purple with some bright blue spots. I wouldn't classify it as a red state. --Mtur 21:37, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
One of the bright blue counties is, of course, the one that includes Madison... What's that other? Menominee County? What's there? Ah, native Americans and a casino... So, "a conservative population" seems wrong to me, but "more conservative than Madison" would seem reasonable. Not that its exactly remarkable for an urban area or a college town to be more liberal than the rest of a state. Dpbsmith 10:49, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
And Milwaukee county, and then Douglass, Bayfield, and Ashland are also much more on the blue side than the purple. Only Waukesha and Washington counties are clearly on the red side of purple. --Mtur 14:06, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Gossip? What's the relevance?

The article mentions that Tammy Baldwin, the state representative of the district in which the Madison campus is located,

lists her female partner on her official biography,[1] and she is the first-ever openly lesbian member of Congress.

This seems like the sort of gossip Conservapedia accuses Wikipedia of dealing in. I don't think it belongs in the article unless it's clear how this impacts the University. Has she pressed for funding of a Gay Studies program or anything like that? Dpbsmith 21:38, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

1970 bombing

Don't have time now, but UW was one of the major centers of campus unrest during the Vietnam War, culminating in the bombing of a university building with what would now be called a "car bomb," resulting in the death of a grad student in physics... Dpbsmith 21:45, 25 April 2007 (EDT)

Aug. 24, 1970. Sterling Hall. -- Same setup (in terms of chemistry) that was used in Oklahoma City. --Mtur 21:59, 25 April 2007 (EDT)
And I believe that some/all of the bombers were never caught. Murray 10:35, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
A quick look at Wikipedia , just one:
  • Karl Armstrong - After the bombing he went into hiding and wasn't caught until February 16, 1972. He was sentenced to 23 years in Waupun State Prison, but served only 7 years. Armstrong returned to Madison and operated a popular deli called Radical Rye on State Street near the UW-Madison campus until it was displaced by the development of the Overture Center.
  • Dwight Armstrong - After being released from prison, he returned to Madison and as of 2000 works for Union Cab
  • David Fine - In 1987, after passing the Oregon Bar exam, Fine was denied admission to the Oregon Bar by the Oregon State Supreme Court based upon his participation in, and lack of remorse for, the bombing of Sterling Hall and the murder of Robert Fassnacht.
  • Leo Burt - After the bombing he completely disappeared, and to this day remains at large.
--Mtur 14:01, 26 April 2007 (EDT)


Interestingly enough, after reading Conservapedia's note about colleges not requiring Shakespeare, I noticed that the University of Wisconsin's main page, seemed to feature a picture captioned "An English class delves into Shakespeare." I couldn't find it later, and discovered they apparently do the old picture-rotation trick. If you go to and click "refresh" a dozen times or so, eventually you should get it... or you can view it at

I suspect this really is a sly reference to the no-Shakespeare flap... but I have to say this looks like a stock picture and apart from the caption you certainly couldn't prove by me they aren't actually delving into Plato or T. S. Eliot. Anybody recognize the thin black paperback with the orange title on the spine? Dpbsmith 10:37, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Political Correctness

This article says that the University of Wisconsin was the birthplace of political correctness, because Donna Shalala used to work there, and she is credited with starting the movement. I have several objections to this. First, the claim doesn't say that Shalala created political correctness while employed with the University, so it cannot be definitively stated that Wisconsin had anything to do with the movement. Additionally, the citation is garbage - the article just says that she enjoyed her time at the campus. This needs serious work. --JeffersonDarcy 14:25, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Actually, the source he cites attempts to attribute the phrase "political correctness"—a stretch, because the words both appear, but not consecutively—to Robert Lafollette, circa 1912. Dpbsmith 15:35, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
The hnn page appears to be a blog-like structure. There are no attributions claiming where or who claims that Donna Shalala has been called the founder of political correctness. The closest I can find is Dubbing her the "high priestess of political correctness" and threatening to attack her record as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, the conservatives predicted Shalala--a 52-year-old career public administrator and an associate of Hillary Rodham Clinton's at the Children's Defense Fund--would become the center of the new Administration's liberal wing.[3] Still, that is a long ways from being the founder. I welcome citations to the contrary that do more to link Shalala to starting the movement. You're better off trying to attribute the movement to Bascom.[4] Whatever the case, get good citations and put them there rather than individuals blogs opining on the evils of one view or the other. --Mtur 15:46, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

It is the reason that Wisconsin, which has a conservative population, has a pro-gun control governor...

Tommy Thompson on Gun Control[5][6] - I will point out that it was a conservative governor who killed/stalled it in 1995. Doyle vetoed it recently. The point being, pro-gun control has been in Wisconsin since 1872 and the current liberal pro-gun control governor has the same stance as the previous conservative governor. --Mtur 14:25, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

That has nothing to do with the University. At all. This should be in the Wisconsin article, not the campus entry. --JeffersonDarcy 14:27, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, I think the connection is that Aschlafly is suggesting that the university unjustly imposes its beliefs on the rest of Wisconsin. Dpbsmith 15:16, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
If that's what he's going for, he's going to have to state the proposition, and then provide a cite or two. We shouldn't have to play guessing games with an encyclopedia. --JeffersonDarcy 15:20, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Oh, agreed. And I think Aschlafly is misreading the situation by suggesting that Wisconsin is a deeply conservative state: farmers are ornery and don't fit all that neatly onto a bipolar liberal/conservative scale. And while I'm sure there's a town/gown division, I doubt that it goes very deep. WIsconsin is not like, say, New Jersey where you have a big-deal private university and a big-deal public university. In Wisconsin, there are some good small schools like Beloit and Marquette, but basically the University of Wisconsin overshadows everything else. University of Wisconsin students come from Wisconsin, mostly, and the University of Wisconsin is where Wisconsin sends its kids, mostly. Dpbsmith 15:32, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

"The Oldest Station in the Nation"

It hardly matters much, as WHA's place in history is secure. The claim or slogan or whatever it is that is on the plaque, however, says simply "The Oldest Station in the Nation." Broadcasting is implied, but not stated, so we shouldn't state it, either. I'm not sure who questions it or why but I'd guess it turns on the question of exactly what a broadcast is and so forth. Dpbsmith 14:47, 26 April 2007 (EDT) Ah. Found it. The rival is Pittsburgh's KDKA. I should have thought of that. Details here. Dpbsmith 15:07, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

From Aschlafly's talk page

I didn't delete facts; I did tone them down, in part because I'm baffled as to what the significance is supposed to be. The University of Wisconsin is a lily-white university in a lily-white state. I summarized the situation by saying "It has a relatively low representation of minorities in its enrollment—11.5%—compared to 12.7% for the state of Wisconsin."

Universities draw on many out-of-state students. I don't think comparing a school's minority enrollment to the number of minorities in the state is all that meaningful. Who cares what Darmouth's minority enrollment is compared to New Hampshire's minority population???--Aschlafly 09:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
It's a meaningful comparison for a public state university, because these universitites do draw heavily on students from within their own states, particularly when there is a big difference between instate and out-of-state tuition as there is at Wisconsin ($4,423 instate, Out-of-State: $18,423[7] Out-of-state enrollment at University of WIsconsin is capped at 25%, although that does not include students from Minnesota with which Wisconsin has a reciprocal tuition agreement, or foreign students.[8].

The importance you give to this in making it the second sentence in the article suggests that you think the minority composition has some great significance. I don't see it. If it were way low compared with that of Wisconsin as a whole, it would suggest discrimination; if it were way high it would suggest an overemphasis on preferential admission. As it is, it's about the same... so what is that supposed to mean, politically or otherwise? Dpbsmith 05:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

It's a very, very liberal school. It's extremely low minority enrollment (less than half the national average?) is astounding, factual, and arguably hypocritical.
It's politically liberal, certainly, although I think "populist" or "Progressive" might be better words. Dpbsmith 10:13, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

P. S. My sentence is still in the article; I see you amended it to "It has a relatively low representation of minorities in its enrollment—11.5%—compared to over 20% nationwide and 12.7% for the state of Wisconsin" which is appropriate. But why does this topic need to appear twice? And why does it need to be in the lead paragraph? Dpbsmith 05:55, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Facts should be up front. We don't need to mention it again twice. But we shouldn't have glowing, unfactual material in the front and bury the useful info later.--Aschlafly 09:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
What would you think of the summary sentence, "It has a relatively low representation of minorities in its enrollment—11.5%—compared to over 20% nationwide and 12.7% for the state of Wisconsin" in the second paragraph, with the detailed composition in a footnote? Dpbsmith 09:53, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
The overall stats are misleading because they lump Asians with African Americans, and conceals how the University of Wisconsin has less than 25% the number of African Americans in the population. That statistic is shocking, really, for an institution that is so liberal. Readers should see that up-front. This is a lily white school telling the rest of the country to be liberal.--Aschlafly 10:08, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
If Wisconsin is discriminating against or otherwise discouraging (or failing to encourage) African-Americans in admissions, I'd expect there to be plenty of ink about that. Fusses, lawsuits, news stories, etc. I don't know that there aren't; I haven't looked. I'd be much happier with a sentence saying "thus-and-such person or organization has castigated the University of Wisconsin for its failure to etc. etc." than with statistics that I'm not sure how to interpret. Dpbsmith 10:18, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
The lack of African Americans at the school is a fact, and a surprising one given the school's demands of political correctness on everyone else. I don't know if liberals criticize this school, their big ally. Shalala ran the place once, and she's as liberal as possible. Regardless, this fact is enlightening, more so than other statements about the school, and complies with our rules. Let the reader decide.--Aschlafly 10:29, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

P. P. S. Most likely the University of WIsconsin Law School's Institute of Legal Studies has something or other to do with "critical legal studies," David Trubek being "a founder of the Conference on Critical Legal Studies" and "founding Director of the UW-Law School’s Institute for Legal Studies." [9]. Eventually I'll put something about this in the article if you don't beat me to it. The connection with the Critical Legal Studies movement looks pretty sound. I'm not so sure about it having a closer connection with "political correctness" than any of many other universities. Dpbsmith 06:13, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

It's widely accepted that Wisconsin founded political correctness. I inserted a reference from a neutral source that confirms that.--Aschlafly 09:51, 26 April 2007 (EDT)
Noted. Dpbsmith 09:53, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

What began as a reply to your question about why I was "deleting facts" has become a discussion that more properly belongs at Talk:University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have a further comment on comparative diversity of colleges which I'm going to make there... and if you have no objection, I'm going to cut this section out of your Talk page and paste it into Talk:University of Wisconsin-Madison. Is that OK? Dpbsmith 12:45, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

U. S News' "Campus Ethnic Diversity"

U. S. News and World Report, it turns out, calculates a campus ethnic diversity index using a methodology which, they say, "factors in the total proportion of minority students—leaving out international students—and the overall mix of groups." The diversity index ranges from 0 (least diverse) to 1 (most diverse). (They don't give rank numbers, but I copied their table into a spreadsheet and did some slicing and dicing).

  • In the entire list of 242, UW-Madison ranks #193 (20th percentile).
  • If we consider only the 158 public universities listed, UW-Madison ranks #90 (43rd percentile).
  • Among the Big Ten, which are broadly similar schools from the same region of the country, we find:
Northwestern University (IL) 0.47
U. of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign * 0.44
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor * 0.43
Michigan State University * 0.31
Univ. of Minnesota–Twin Cities * 0.3
Ohio State University–Columbus * 0.28
Pennsylvania State U.–University Park * 0.24
Purdue Univ.–West Lafayette (IN)* 0.24
Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison * 0.22
Indiana University–Bloomington * 0.2
University of Iowa * 0.17
  • The schools of the Ivy League range from 0.46 (Cornell) to 0.56 (Harvard), average 0.50.
  • The highest scores in the entire list is Rutgers-Newark (0.73); (Rutgers-New Brunswick scores 0.58).
  • The forty-nine schools below UW-Madison are not just lower in rank order, they are significantly lower in diversity index, and many of them seem to qualify as "major schools;" for example, University of Rhode Island (0.2), Clemson (0.18), Brigham Young University (0.17), UNH (0.12), University of Maine at Orono (0.1), University of Vermont (0.1).

The conclusion I draw is that University of Wisconsin-Madison does seem to me to be "low" in diversity, but to say it has "one of the smallest minority enrollments among major schools" is an exaggeration.

I expect others will draw different conclusions... Dpbsmith 19:42, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

And it bears repeating that this is at least partially a reflection of the diversity of the state of Wisconsin, since that's where the majority of the students come from. Presumably that's true of the other big 10 schools as well, so it's no surprise that those in states with larger urban populations (Ohio St, Northwestern, Penn St) have more diversity, and those that I would imagine are similar in statewide diversity (Iowa, Purdue, Indiana) are similar in student body diversity. Murray 13:31, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

"Top 10 Most Liberal Colleges"

Boy, is it ever hard to construct a search for politically liberal institutions that doesn't return liberal arts as a hit.

I can't tell whether there are no universities on this list because they're excluded, or whether it's because no university can be as homogeneous as a college... but for whatever it might be worth the Princeton Review's Top 10 Most Liberal Colleges are:

1. Warren Wilson College (Asheville, North Carolina)
2. Hampshire College (Amherst, Massachusetts)
3. Bennington College (Bennington, Vermont)
4. New College of Florida (Sarasota, Florida)
5. Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York)
6. Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, New York)
7. Reed College (Portland, Oregon)
8. The Evergreen State College (Olympia, Washington)
9. Pitzer College (Claremont, California)
10. Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Their Most Politically Active list includes these, and I think it is significant that the University of Wisconsin is not included here:

1 American University
2 New College of Florida
3 Princeton University
4 Eugene Lang College--The New School for Liberal Arts
5 The George Washington University
6 Lewis & Clark College
7 Macalester College
8 Pitzer College
9 Harvard College
10 Hampden-Sydney College
11 United States Naval Academy
12 University of Chicago
13 Wesleyan University
14 Oberlin College
15 Warren Wilson College
16 Claremont McKenna College
17 Simon's Rock College of Bard
18 Georgetown University
19 Hampshire College
20 Pomona College

Dpbsmith 20:17, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

If you go to other items in the top 10 rankings on the encarta site you will find universities listed. If you switch over to most conservative colleges, Brigham Young University is #3 and University of Dallas is #8 and Texas A&M University-College Station as #9. Universities are not excluded. --Mtur 20:31, 26 April 2007 (EDT)

Changed "0.6% Asian" to "6% Asian"

The paragraph read:

It has one of the smallest minority enrollments among major schools, with only 2.7% of its enrollment being African American, only 3% Hispanic and only 0.6% being Asian American.

I changed the stated Asian-American percentage figure from 0.6% to 6%, because U. S. News and World Report's table shows Asian-American as the largest minority and gives the figure as 6%, and because Aschlafly's original text (first version of the article) reads

It has one of the smallest minority enrollments among major schools, with only 11.5% of its student population being African American (2.7%), Asian American (5.2%), Native American (0.6%) or Hispanic (3%).

Proposed change in "smallest minority enrollments" paragraph

I propose to change this paragraph to read:

Ethnic diversity at UW-Madison is among the lowest in the Big Ten[2], with the student composition comprising only 5.2% Asian-Americans, 3% Hispanics, 2.7% African Americans and 0.6% Native Americans. In 2006, near the target date of an effort to increase diversity known as "Plan 2008," a committee concluded that the plan had failed.[3]

and then footnote "lowest in the Big Ten" with the details:

Among the Big Ten schools, the U. S. News' Campus Ethnic Diversity Index ranges from 0.47 (Northwestern) down to 0.17 (Iowa), with UW-Madison third from the bottom at 0.22.

I'll preserve the location in the article that Aschafly thinks this material deserves. I think comparison among the Big Ten seems fair since they are all broadly comparable institutions. I think "among the lowest in the Big Ten" is fair since it's in the bottom three, and its score of 0.22 isn't very far from Iowa's 0.17. I don't think the use of the word "only" is appropriate without any rationale for what the percentages should be, but I'll leave it. I just don't think "has one of the smallest minority enrollments among major schools" is justified by the facts. "Among the lowest in the Big Ten" is as close as I can some to preserving Aschlafly's point without stretching the facts beyond the breaking point. Dpbsmith 11:55, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

P. S. More of the Daily Cardinal article could be quoted. The Chancellor said:

“We’re more diverse in this student body than the whole state of Wisconsin [but] we’re not a state school, we’re a national school.” Wiley said the University deserved such a low grade because minority students graduate at rates far lower than other students. “Those differences are not attributable to ability or preparation or background or anything other than the difficulty of being a student of color on our campus."

One letter to the editor suggests that "As long as this university requires at least 75 percent of its incoming freshman class to come from in-state, it will remain predominately white for the foreseeable future."

Apparently "Plan 2008" is a ten-year plan... Dpbsmith 12:27, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

party joint

heard more partying than work gets done there. --Will N. 12:29, 27 April 2007 (EDT)

References tag:

  1. Representative Tammy Baldwin at
  2. In the Big Ten schools, the U. S. News' Campus Ethnic Diversity Index ranges from 0.47 (Northwestern) down to 0.17 (Iowa), with UW-Madison third from the bottom at 0.22
  3. Campus diversity efforts failing, Plan 2008 panelists say, Daily Cardinal, May 1, 2006