Students disrupt UW regent meeting with diversity demands

2 dozen students interrupt meeting
Students disrupt UW regent meeting with diversity demands

A group of about two dozen students has interrupted a University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting to demand the panel improve how minority students are treated.

The students stood up during a discussion on tenure changes to complain about how they believe minority students are mistreated on UW campuses. Regent President Regina Millner recessed the meeting while regents and chancellors listened to the students.

The students demanded Millner apologize and publicly acknowledge the system has made little progress on diversity. They spoke for about five minutes and then left.

Dave Vanness, a tenured professor, was at the meeting and spoke out against the changes in an interview with News 3.

“What I’m afraid of is this sort of atmosphere of an academic hunger games, where programs are going to sort of have to compete against each other to not be the ones to lose their faculty,” Vanness said.

He said he’s worried he won’t have the same freedom in his research now and could potentially leave the university.

“I want to be in a place where I feel safe to do the kinds of research that I do, and I want to be in a place that’s growing and thriving,” he said.

With the statewide rules in place, the Regents’ next step is to approve more specific tenure policies for each UW campus.

Millner told the regents they’ll receive a report from student representatives at the board’s April meeting.