The indignation has begun over the legislature's "attack" on the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. No one should be surprised. The UW - and universities across the country - have no one to blame for this type of thing but themselves.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism may do good work, although the example given in news accounts of Wednesday's action - breaking the story of the altercation between Justices Prosser and Gableman - is not an example. That was actually pretty shoddy work. What is hard to deny is that it is funded by left-leaning organizations and has a left-leaning bias - as does almost every part of the UW engaged in policy work.
And that last part may be the problem. There is nothing wrong with a group like the Center for Investigative Journalism having a perspective on the world. There even could be nothing wrong with having a Soros funded organization like the Center (funded operation at a public university - or one funded by the Koch brothers.
But there ought be some balance. There is no way that the UW would tolerate a conservative counterpart of the Center for Investigative Journalism. Imagine, for example, the MacIver Institute with offices in Vilas Hall.
I don't know why the legislature did what it did. Don't know anything other than what I read in the paper. But when public universities shun intellectual diversity - as the UW has indisputably done - they ought not to be surprised when people decide that it may not be wise to allocate public money to fund one side of the debate.
I understand that the reaction to this will be denial. But anyone who believes that the leftward tilt of universities is the result of unimpeded inquiry doesn't know very much about universities. They are wonderful in many ways but they are among the most conformist institutions in our society.
If this were not so. If the UW occasionally roused itself to promote a diversity of ideas, I'd have more sympathy for the Center. In any event, not being able to occupy Vilas Hall will hardly cause it to shut down. Rent is cheap.
I do have concerns about that part of the proposed legislation that says no one can do work "related to" the Center as part of their employment at the UW. That does strike me as a very broad proscription that is incompatible with academic freedom.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.