Soros Funded Org Seeks Student Help to Build Counter to ALEC

University of Wisconsin Professor Joel Rogers wants to build a lefty alternative to the ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. He recently hit up some of his students for help with the project, while they were waiting for their grades in his class.

This from our first article in an ongoing investigation conducted by the MacIver News Service. Future stories will focus on any official reaction we receive from the University and an indepth look at Rogers’ Center on Wisconsin Strategy.

Joel Rogers Says College Credits May Be Available to Those Who Help Build Liberal Alternative to ALEC

[Madison, Wisc…] One of the University of Wisconsin’s most renowned liberal professors attempted to recruit his students to work on an elaborate private political project while final grades in their class were pending, the MacIver News Service has learned.

At the conclusion of his end-of-the-year email to his UW Law School students, Professor Joel Rogers wrote: I think I mentioned a little project I’m doing now — which thus far involves professors from such crummy law schools as Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Virgina [sic] and elsewhere, but thus far, beyond your lonesome, NOBODY from UW — to build a partial counter to ALEC. It’s going to involve a lot of law students. If you’re interested in helping out with that (no money, but possible credit), or know of somebody else who might be, please let me, or even better, “Nate>, a lawyer and now sociology grad student, know. Project description attached.”

Rogers is the Director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, educational, and charitable organization. COWS was founded in 1992 by Rogers, a professor of Law, Political Science, and Sociology at UW-Madison and a longtime commentator on economic development and democratic institutions. COWS is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Social Science Building.

According to its website, COWS current and past funders include: the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, theCarolyn Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Garfield Foundation, Living Cities, the Joyce Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

This last semester, Rogers taught a class titled: Law & Contemporary Problems: Public Law & Private Power to approximately a dozen students at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Coursework was completed in December, but grades had not been issued at the time he sent his email to students. Rogers’ email was provided to MacIver News Service by someone who received the email from one of Rogers’ students. The MNS has confirmed the authenticity of the email, although we have not found a student who was willing to comment on the record. Read more>>

Have UW students received credit for helping Rogers with other political projects? Do Rogers, the UW Law School or the University of Wisconsin condone such solicitations from faculty using University resources? Do they believe it is a problem to solicit help from students while their grades are pending?

We are awaiting comment from Rogers, the dean of the UW Law School and the UW Chancellor and will update this story to reflect their responses in the coming days.

Rogers, by the way, has an interesting ACORN connection.