Freedom? That’s just some people talking

When dealing with the level of stupid happening at the Statehouse, never assume it can’t get dumber. Case in point, Robin Vos, everyone!


Madison — The head of the Assembly said Thursday that he was backing off support for giving the University of Wisconsin System more autonomy because university leaders don’t appear willing to make dramatic changes in areas such as tenure and shared governance.

“Giving autonomy to folks who want to use it to change the institution, I think that makes sense — if they want to use it,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said on the WisconsinEye Public Affairs Network.

“But when I see that the (Board of Regents) at its last meeting came out and said that we’re going to have no change — no changes to tenure, no change to all of these different things — well, then why are we giving you the autonomy to do nothing with it if you’re going to protect the status quo?”


Just in case you are confused by the concept of autonomy, here’s what it means:

  • the right or condition of self-government, especially in a particular sphere.
  • a self-governing country or region.
  • freedom from external control or influence; independence.
  • synonyms: self-government, self-rule, home rule, self-determination, independence, sovereignty, freedom


In other words, when you grant some one or some group autonomy, what you are saying is, “You have the right to do what you think is best for you and your folks.” However, in the popcorn-sized brain of our Assembly leader, it basically means, “We’re giving you the right to do what we tell you to do.”

This isn’t the first time that Vos has come to the precipice of letting the university system have freedom before yanking the leash back. In 2013, lawmakers were going to give the U a cut and give the leaders the right to self-govern (well, sort of). He then pulled back under the guise of the U having nearly a billion dollars in reserves and not being trustworthy.

This time, it’s “You can’t be trusted to do the right thing.”

Vos is acting like a sit-com dad who keeps coming up with reasons not to let his teenage daughter go out on a date: You need to do your homework, you forgot to visit grandma, it’s Friday so that’s technically a school night… And on and on it goes.

A few weeks back, I made the case that despite proposing draconian cuts, there was no way in hell the state was going to let the U go its own way.

And why would it?

Name any other organization where you get to pay less than one-fifth of the bills but you get to make all of the major decisions. That’s essentially the funding model under which the state and the system operate.

In addition, once you no longer have the ability to keep beating the bitch because you think she burned the roast, what are you going to do with yourself, Mr. Chairman? It’s so much easier to get tough on people who can’t fight back and who you can portray as undeserving. If Vos and Friends let the U go, who can they blame for the state of the economy, the laziness of government entitlement or “taking?” Shit, they might have to resort to actually fixing problems or at the least working harder to make it look like they’re accomplishing something.

2 thoughts on “Freedom? That’s just some people talking

  1. Also, too, from the memory hole (what a gaping maw it is!): in November, he said that state support of the new Bucks arena would be a tough sell in the GOP statehouse because Mary Burke had held a campaign event in the current arena.

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