A literature professor at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater has offered students in her courses extra credit for attending a Thursday evening rally against budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin System proposed by Gov. Scott Walker.
The professor is Beth Lueck.
On Wednesday, Lueck notified students in her freshman English class about the exciting extra-credit assignment.
“UWW students have organized a non-partisan [sic] rally with students, faculty, and community members on the UW Whitewater campus against Gov. Walker’s proposed $300 million cut to the UW system, along with speaking out against attacks on shared governance and faculty,” Lueck’s missive read.
Protest organizers asked participants to meet outside the school library. From there, they would march over to Timmerman Auditorium to hear state Rep. Andy Jorgensen, a Democrat, and a local city council member speak against budget cuts.
“You may get extra credit by joining the rally or by observing it or by protesting it,” the taxpayer-funded professor explained.
Lueck’s faculty webpage at the school’s website suggests that none the courses she teaches at UW–Whitewater are remotely related to politics.
The professor’s list of “Courses Taught” is limited only to English and literature courses. In addition to freshman English, the list includes “Survey of American Literature,” “American Gothic,” “American Realism & Naturalism” and “Nineteenth-Century Women Writers.”
Some students in Lueck’s classes this semester observe that the extra-credit assignment is irrelevant to their English coursework.
“I took a political science class last semester,” freshman Matthew Yontz told Watchdog.org. “I can understand maybe doing this for that class but not an English class.”
Yontz, who is a member of the Wisconsin–Whitewater Republican students group, thinks Lueck is wrongly trying to push her views on students.
“Would she give the same extra credit?” to students who attend a rally in support of Walker, the freshman asked Watchdog.org. “I highly doubt it.”
Lueck is a Democrat. In addition to her role as a professor, she ran as a Democrat in a 2014 Wisconsin State Assembly race. She lost very badly — 63.5 percent to 36.5 percent — to current Republican Rep. Jim Ott.
On Wisconsin Vote, a state election website, Lueck described herself as a candidate who wraps herself in “the proud tradition of Wisconsin progressivism.” She wants to “bring back respect for unions.” She supports abortion and “full compliance with” Obamacare.”
Allison Strauel, a spokeswoman for Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans and chairwoman of UW-Whitewater College Republicans, described Lueck’s extra-credit assignment to go watch Democrats speak as politically discriminatory.
“Professor Lueck, in a display of irresponsible partisanship, has used her position to boost attendance for an Anti-Walker budget rally on campus,” Strauel said in a press release obtained by The Daily Caller.
“The nature of Dr. Lueck’s faculty status gives her influence over her students and she wrongfully abused it,” Strauel also said. “As a student at UW-Whitewater I believe it is imperative that the partisan beliefs and biases of professors remain outside of the classroom, especially in instances where students’ grades can be affected.”
Watchdog.org pointed to a fiscal analysis showing that Walker’s budget cuts could result in $6.4 million cut in cuts at UW-Whitewater.
Officials with the University of Wisconsin System have asked the state government for more autonomy. Walker’s budget plan gives school leaders the autonomy they seek in exchange for less direct state funding.
A Facebook campaign page entitled “Beth L. Lueck for Wisconsin State Assembly, District 23” has garnered 17 likes in its Facebook lifetime.
Another Facebook page, called “Beth Lueck, Democratic write-in candidate for State Senate District,” last saw action back in July 2013 with a post featuring a photo of a cat.