An open letter to Gov. Scott Walker: stop perpetuating the myth of the lazy professor

Unfortunately, the governor is not listening to any rebuttals to his half-brained media comments. His only goal is to become president, and everything he says appeals directly to Republicans. The people he is targeting do not look beyond headlines, and Walker knows that even bad publicity is publicity. He has also skillfully applied a tried and true Republican tactic–divide and conquer. While we are all squabbling about how the budget should be cut and defending ourselves against meaningless verbal attacks, he is gathering his cronies and raising more and more money with which to win the presidential election. Like the same way he secretly allowed his buddies to build a gas pipeline from northern WI to IL without anyone knowing about it until now (http://www.wisconsingazette.com/wisconsin/xxlbreakwisconsin-pipeline-dwarfs-keystone-and-affects-every-waterway-in-the-state.html). His plan is working exactly as intended, and the more we fight among ourselves, the more successful he will be. The only strategy that will work against Walker is solidarity. After witnessing the fallout on my campus, solidarity seems impossible. Thus, Walker will win.

The Contemplative Mammoth

Dear Gov. Walker,

Last week, you told professors at the University of Wisconsin that they needed to “work harder.” You were making a case that the Wisconsin state budget crisis could be ameliorated by increasing employee efficiency, and you suggested having faculty teach at least one more class. I’m not going to talk about whether or not the budget crisis is manufactured (some have argued it could be solved by accepting federal funds for the state’s Badger Care health program), or whether your real goal is really partisan politics, and not fiscal responsibility.

Ouch. Ouch. Photo by fellow UW Madison geographer Sigrid Peterson.

Instead, I want to talk about the myth of the lazy professor, a stereotype that you’ve reinforced with your comment. I spent 2005 to 2012 at the University of Wisconsin, where I obtained a PhD in the Department of Geography; I am now an assistant professor at the University of Maine.

When you…

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