For the Record: UW System president on recent controversies; Dane County judge to run for state’s high court

Wisconsin State Capitol Forward Statue 1

MADISON, Wis. — New UW System president Jay O. Rothman, former CEO of a Milwaukee-based international law firm, sat down on For the Record with Naomi Kowles this Sunday to outline his priorities for the state’s university system.

RELATED: New UW System president will recommend continuing tuition freeze in upcoming budget

Rothman also said a free speech survey that attracted controversy throughout the system and helped prompt the resignation of UW-Whitewater’s interim chancellor will go forward this fall.

I think the issue around freedom of expression and civil dialogue on the campuses is absolutely critical,” Rothman said. “If you think about what a university needs to be, it needs to be that place where ideas can be debated and discussed in a civil fashion.”

He also backed incoming UW-Madison chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, the current dean of UCLA’s School of Law who was blasted by Republicans after her unanimous appointment by UW regents.

I think she will do great things for UW Madison and for the system more generally because the flagship is really important to the system as a whole,” he said. “I really look forward to Jennifer being here and people getting to meet her and interact with her because I think they will come away as impressed as I have been with her.”

Watch the full interview above, including Rothman’s expectations for building relationships with key legislature Republicans.

For the Record: Trump backs Tim Michels in Wis. gubernatorial race

Also on For the Record, UW-La Crosse political science professor Anthony Chergosky sat down with political reporter Will Kenneally to discuss Donald Trump’s surprise endorsement for multimillionaire businessman Tim Michels.

Watch the full interview above

For the Record: Dane County judge enters state supreme court race

With former chief justice Pat Roggensack not running for reelection next spring, the delicate balance of conservative-backed power on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (4-3) could be up for grabs.

Dane County judge Everett Mitchell, who presides over the circuit court’s juvenile division, joined the race this week alongside Milwaukee County circuit court judge Janet Protasiewicz — who has been backed by state supreme court justice Rebecca Dallet.

Mitchell, who is also a pastor and University of Wisconsin adjunct law professor, pointed to his upbringing by a single mother in Fort Worth, Texas and struggles with education before graduating from Princeton University and Morehouse College.

“Really struggled here to find a job, worked at Pizza Hut delivering pizzas,” he recalled of when he first moved to Wisconsin in 2004. “Even though I had a master’s degree from Princeton and a degree from Morehouse [College]: Never gave up on my dream of really working to promote justice in this community.”

When asked about his approach to legal interpretation, he discussed what he called a “living”, evolving approach to interpreting the constitution, alongside those who bring an originalist approach — interpreting legal documents as they were intended at the time.

“I think as an African-American, thinking about how the constitution was framed without us, even the idea of slavery was not included in the very language of the constitution itself but yet was a reality of it,” he explained. “You want a document that both speaks to the living opportunities for how our culture will change, and how does that mean for us?”

Watch his full interview above.