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Professors defend new UW-Madison leader against GOP attacks

Pedestrians and students walk across Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (File...
Pedestrians and students walk across Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (File photo, Jeff Miler/UW-Madison)(WSAW)
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 12:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2022 at 1:31 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - New University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin is trying to stay out of the bitter political fight over her hiring.

Mnookin addressed Wisconsin reporters for the first time via Zoom from her office at UCLA’s law school on Tuesday. Asked repeatedly for her reaction to Republican critics accusing her of being unabashedly liberal and GOP threats to restrict UW’s funding if she remains chancellor, she said only that she’s willing to talk to anyone.

The Wisconsin chapter of the American Association of University Professors tweeted Tuesday that the criticism is grounded in “corrosive right-wing conspiracy theories” and that threats to starve the UW System of funding if Mnookin isn’t replaced as inappropriate and embarrassing.

System regents announced Monday that they had selected Mnookin to succeed Rebecca Blank. Within hours, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos criticized Mnookin for supporting critical race theory and donating to Democratic candidates. Sen. Steve Nass said if regents believe she’s the best choice the Legislature should freeze state aid and tuition across the system.

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