A professor at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) sent a memo to her freshman English class offering students extra credit for attending an organized rally to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin System.
Wisconsin Reporter at Watchdog.com M.D. Kittle reported that Professor Beth Lueck, a Democrat who ran against – and was defeated by – state Rep. Jim Ott (R), sent the memo to her students on Wednesday.
The memo was tweeted out on Thursday by conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna:
— Vicki McKenna (@VickiMcKenna) February 19, 2015
The memo states:
UWW students have organized a non-partisan rally with students, faculty, and community members on the UW Whitewater campus against Gov. Walker’s proposed $300 million cut to the UW system, along with speaking out against attacks on shared governance and faculty. You may get extra credit by joining the rally or by observing it or by protesting it.
Students were invited to meet “others” for a march on the university campus and to hear speeches by state and local politicians and “various faculty and staff.” A forum on the proposed budget cuts was held afterward.
Though Lueck told Wisconsin Reporter that students were not required to attend the rally, she wrote, “The extra credit opportunity – not an assignment – requires students to write a response to the event or lecture that they attend. The amount of credit given has nothing to do with the views they express.”
Lueck added that “reading or observing or discussing, analyzing, and writing is very much a part of the curriculum in an English course.”
Matthew Yontz, a second semester freshman in Lueck’s class and a member of the campus Republican Club, said students were not told how much extra credit they would receive and that the “’assignment’ is out of line.” He fears that though Lueck said she will offer credit for students who choose to protest the protest, she is attempting to push her political ideology onto students.
“She’s obviously trying to influence her political views on us as a class, and I feel that’s wrong,” the student said.” I believe professors should be neutral on politics in the classroom, that they shouldn’t bring politics in, especially in an English class.”