Walker backs off removing ‘Wisconsin Idea’ from UW mission

Gov. Scott Walker has abruptly backed off his proposal to eliminate the University of Wisconsin System’s 111-year-old public service mission statement.

Walker tucked language into his budget proposal that would have replaced the statement, known as the “Wisconsin Idea,” with the charge of meeting the state’s workforce needs. The move drew the ire of UW System President Ray Cross, who says the Wisconsin Idea is the reason the system exists.

Cross tweeted Wednesday afternoon, “Thanks Governor Walker for your commitment to the Wisconsin Idea.”

A Walker spokeswoman issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon calling the move a drafting error. She says the Wisconsin Idea will remain in the budget.