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Wisconsin Republican Objects to Professor's Description of Trump Presidency as 'Polarized'

February 4, 2019

A Republican state lawmaker in Wisconsin complained to a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison about his description of President Trump -- copying the university system’s Board of Regents and president and Madison’s chancellor, along with the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee and other groups. Kenneth Mayer, the professor, wrote in a syllabus for a class on the American presidency that Trump's is the most “unconventional presidency in American history, with a president who gleefully flouts the norms of governing and presidential behavior that have structured the office since George Washington,” the Journal Sentinel reported. Trump supporters “rejoice in his contempt for what they insist is a corrupt D.C. establishment. If elites are against it, Trump’s supporters are for it,” Mayer wrote.

State Representative Dave Murphy heard about the syllabus after a student complained about it on social media. He said in his letter to Mayer that he was shocked by the “politically polarized characterization of the Trump presidency.” Students who identify as Trump supporters “will be encouraged to parrot liberal views that you clearly sympathize with or remain silent in an attempt to mask their conservative opinions,” he added, asking Mayer to invite a member of the Trump administration to address his students. In 2016, Murphy also criticized a course on whiteness at Madison and its professor. Other lawmakers and professors have objected to Murphy’s recent letter as an infringement on academic freedom. Madison’s College Republicans have defended Mayer as fair and engaging. Madison said he is a respected scholar who is declining interviews on the matter.


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