The interim chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater recently resigned after system leaders announced a planned systemwide survey on campus free speech, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The launch of the survey is scheduled for today, according to an announcement from the system, and it comes at a time when Republican state legislators have been proposing legislation on campus free speech issues and scrutiny of such issues has gotten national attention, the newspaper reported.
The survey asks students about viewpoint diversity in the classroom and has them think through whether hypothetical scenarios are protected under the First Amendment.
Jim Henderson, the interim chancellor, and UW system officials confirmed to the Journal Sentinel that interim UW system president Michael Falbo’s decision to conduct the survey on all UW system campuses was at the heart of Henderson’s decision to step down Monday.
Henderson said one of his goals as interim chancellor was to help the campus hire the best possible chancellor, who would stay at the university in the long term, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“Over the past few days it has become clear to me that I cannot make progress on that goal,” he wrote in an announcement to campus. “Given that, I feel that it is in both the best interest of UW-Whitewater and me personally that I resign my position as interim chancellor, and I have submitted my resignation effective at the end of the day today.”
The survey will be conducted by the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, which is part of the University of Wisconsin system. The disagreement over the survey follows another controversial survey mandated at Florida public colleges and universities about campus ideological diversity, which has faced fierce resistance from the United Faculty of Florida union.