Althouse | category: University of Wisconsin



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Wisconsin has long been unique in allowing graduates of its two law schools to become licensed to practice law without taking the bar exam..."

"... if they take a required set of courses. This 'diploma privilege' eliminates a significant barrier to entry–the bar exam–which disproportionately affects people from less advantaged backgrounds and historically underrepresented groups. UW Law graduates had a 100% bar admission rate in each of the last two years. Due to an obscure change in the methodology, however, our ranking in the bar admissions metric fell from No. 6 to No. 45 in 2022. We raised this issue with U.S News in November 2022, pointing out that this change unfairly hurts schools in states that provide greater access to the practice of law, but they have given no indication that they plan to fix the problem...."

From "UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN LAW SCHOOL WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN U.S. NEWS SURVEY," a statement from the dean, Dan Tokaji (at the Law School website).

Do you think Wisconsin is "unfairly hurt" by a methodology that mutes the effect of this unique privilege that our legislature has bestowed on our graduates? 

Notice that there are 2 aspects of this argument against the U.S. News ranking. One is that we're not getting enough advantage from the diploma privilege. The other is that the privilege is especially beneficial to "people from less advantaged backgrounds and historically underrepresented groups," who, it is suggested, tend to have more of a problem passing the bar exam. The idea is that we have the privilege and it should boost our rank because it's helping the right students, the ones whom life has not otherwise privileged. 

Do law professors at other schools agree that Wisconsin should get a great advantage in the rank because of the diploma privilege? Would they like their state to institute a diploma privilege?

"He started playing guitar at 13 and attended the University of Wisconsin, where he performed at coffeehouses."

"He was a student there when he met Bob Dylan, an itinerant folk singer traveling through. 'Dylan crashed with me for a few weeks in Madison on his way from Hibbing, Minnesota, to New York,' Mr. Kalb told AM New York in 2013. 'We had so much fun, I dropped out and followed him.'"

From "Danny Kalb, Guitarist Who Gave Blues-Rock an Edge, Dies at 80/His 1960s band, the Blues Project, won a following with a driving, experimental approach to traditional material that was anything but purist" (NYT).

"... Professor Dan Epps... hypothesized that Yale plans to make major changes to admissions in the wake of the expected Supreme Court affirmative action rulings, 'and they are doing this proactively'..."

"'... rather than dealing with any rankings implications later.' [Some] students [agreed and] speculated... that not having to worry about LSAT and GPA data dragging down its U.S. News rank will allow YLS to either (a) continue to use racial preferences in admissions or (b) water down its academic credentials. Furthermore... some sources suggested that Dean Gerken withdrew from the rankings because she feared that YLS was about to lose the #1 spot it has held for more than three decades—and she didn’t want that to happen on her watch.... One professor told me that... there was no sense within the faculty that YLS’s #1 ranking was at imminent risk. Instead... 'This is clearly part of a larger and deeper commitment on her part toward leadership in the law school industry when it comes to fairness, welfare, and equity.'"

From "Yale And Harvard Law To U.S. News: Drop Dead/Two leading law schools have withdrawn from the influential law school rankings; will others follow?" by David Lat (Substack).

I remember when U.S. News first started this ranking. It was 1987, and I was 3 years into teaching at the University of Wisconsin Law School. From day one, the professors at my school were hostile to the rankings. We had our values, and how dare U.S. News attempt to influence our choices. 

Here's how the rankings looked in 1987. We were #20 at that point — the point when the game began. A decade later we were struggling for position in the 30s and we currently stand at #43.

"Even a holiday which celebrates debauchery, irreverence, and immature or dark humor should have no place for words or actions of hate."

"This deranged individual was looking to create fear and anxiety. We don't believe that he is a student, rather an outside provocateur."

Said Rabbi Mendel Matusof said, quoted in "UW-Madison releases statement after Adolf Hitler costume seen on State Street" (WKOW).

Here's a Reddit discussion — replete with a photograph of the person wearing a Hilter costume on State Street. I found that via this other Reddit discussion, where somebody says, "If it's any consolation, I was told by a bartender on State Street that the dude got his ass kicked."

UPDATE: Channel 3000 quotes the police report, which makes 3 important points:

1. Wearing a Hitler costume is protected speech, so no crime has been reported. 

2. Even though "no reports received by MPD rise to the level of a prosecutable crime," it nevertheless identified the person and interviewed him. 

3. It turns out that this person "has a cognitive impairment due to a past traumatic brain injury."

ALSO: Who called the police on a guy in a bad costume? Did anyone call the police on the person who beat up this mentally impaired person?

A UW student from China was jumped and punched and kicked by "four tall men in athletic wear."

I'm reading in the student newspaper The Daily Cardinal, in "Updated: Asian international student assaulted near campus Tuesday, campus community rallies to #StopAsianHate." The quoted description comes from the Cardinal, and is based on this security camera photo. You can ask yourself why the newspaper chooses not to guess the race of the alleged attackers.

The Madison Police Department reported that the Tuesday night assault was the third of its kind to occur in the downtown area in the past week, though the two other incidents did not involve students and the “victims were from various backgrounds,” the university said in an email. 

The department suspects the same group of people were responsible for these attacks, which appear to be random in nature. In an incident report released Friday morning, the department stated that detectives do not have any evidence that leads them to conclude that the incidents were motivated by race.

The victim himself, Wentao Zhou, did characterize the attack in racial terms — when he posted on Weibo (Chinese social media). That post was shared — in translation — at Reddit, where I saw it 3 days ago:

I was walking home alone tonight across University Avenue, which is the main street in downtown Madison. I was about to turn the corner and head towards my residence when a group of very tall and well-dressed young guys sped up to me and surrounded me, a black guy punched me in the left side of my face all of a sudden, then I was pulled to the ground by the people behind me, followed by punches and kicks. I was so dazed and dumbfounded that for the first 20 seconds, I didn't even realize I should call for help. It wasn't until I was spotted by the people around and I heard there were girls yelling that I realized I should call for help. After I shouted HELP twice, they ran away. When I stood up, my glasses were knocked off, my head was numb, and I couldn't see anything. I continued to yell HELP and crowds started coming from all over. A group of black girls who were partying at a bar across the street witnessed the whole attack, and they came over and sat me down, helped me call the police, handed me tissues and water, and took pictures of me. A passerby white guy, presumably a medical student, checked all parts of my body, checked the wounds, asked some questions, and made sure I was conscious. The police arrived about 5-10 minutes later and took statements from me and the passerby. The location where I was attacked was just across the street from a store, and I was attacked almost right under the store's security camera. The police will request the footage. And there were security cameras all over that busy street.... 
[I]ncomprehension/violence/conflict can happen in/with any country/era/race. I don't even feel any anger or rage at the young men who attacked me. They are just those who have lost their basic rationalities and common sense under certain ideologies/hatred/cultures. The limited resources in society/education almost decided that it’s impossible to raise everybody into a decent person with common sense. While trying to fight against violence/hatred, we need to raise our own awareness of safety and learn to protect ourselves. 
Tonight it's my turn, and I'm glad it's my turn and not the turn of anyone else’s, at least I could still take a few punches.

He talks about race, but in a distinctly sensitive way.

I didn't post about it then, because I couldn't see a story about the attack in any newspaper or on the Madison police report page. I don't rush to share things that are inflammatory and may not be true. The police were on the scene, so I would expect that not only to appear on local news sites but to result in a text warning me of a danger in the area. I am signed up for those police reports and get them with regularity. 

Back to the Cardinal article:

The university [emailed students:] “While we don't have evidence these incidents were motivated by race, we know that each time incidents like these occur, it has an impact on the well-being of all our students, and particularly our Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American students, faculty, and staff, and other communities of color,” read the email from three UW-Madison leaders. “We are committed to creating a safe community at UW–Madison where everyone feels they belong, and we know we have more work to do.”

They're using the phrase "we don't have evidence" to mean we don't have conclusive proof. I'd like to see the word "evidence" used correctly, and I'd like some assurance that they'd resist speculating about a racial motive if the victim had been black. 

We're told that "many students are concerned that the incidents were racially motivated and have taken to social media to call out anti-Asian violence on a campus they say doesn’t do enough to support them."

Still,  “Many international students chose @UWMadison because we thought Madison was safer than other big cities. BUT we feel REALLY REALLY upset now,” Luhang Sun, a Ph.D. student at UW-Madison, tweeted. “Where's the support you claim to have for us?” an Asian student commented on Instagram. “What are you going to do to protect your Asian students going forward? How many more times is this going to happen before you realize this is an issue you need to address and shut down.”

You can see that this is very damaging to the university's reputation, but clearly the university is also keen to maintain a reputation among black Americans. Yet it is insulting to virtually all black Americans to patronize the assailants. 

ADDED: From the comments at Reddit: "Ironically we got police alerts on the tornado yesterday, but no alert on this one"/"Ikr! I didn’t know about this until I saw this on Reddit!"/"Yeah idk why we don’t get alerts about this. We get alerts about this stuff normally."

"About 63% of applicants submitted test scores in the first test-optional year.... Applicants submitting scores were less likely to be female, Black, Hispanic, first-generation and eligible for a Pell grant."

"They were more likely to come from a higher-income neighborhood, have a higher high school GPA, have completed more rigorous high school coursework. Test-submitters were also more likely to apply for majors in science, technology, engineering or math. Test-optional admissions led to an increased volume in applications but didn’t lead to changes in applicant characteristics, such as race or income level, compared to previous admissions cycles."

From "Here’s what early results of UW-Madison’s ACT/SAT test-optional experiment show" (

"I do not tolerate people who hold views that can be harmful to others.... I am tolerant of other people’s views, but only if those views are not offensive...."

Here are the actual questions on that free-speech survey we were talking about yesterday — the one the University of Wisconsin system decided to delay until next fall. 

 Please go to the link and view all the questions — it's quite long! — then answer my survey:

Is this poll distorted to get a particular result? free polls

"The University of Wisconsin System’s free speech survey, which was set to go out Thursday to all undergraduates, has since been pushed back to fall 2022...."

"The survey asks about self-censorship, opinions toward viewpoint diversity, perceptions of campus climate, knowledge of the First Amendment and consequences of expressing oneself.... Tyler Katzenberger, press secretary of Associated Students of Madison, said... 'We get what the survey’s trying to address and we think it's an important cause to discuss, but why is there not a survey addressing diversity issues in the System?... Why are we prioritizing this over other more pressing diversity issues?' Katzenberger said ASM additionally questioned the legitimacy of the survey because it received an exemption from UW-Stout’s institutional review board, which protects the rights and welfare of human research subjects. However, Eric Giordano, executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, said in a statement that representatives from most other campus institutional review boards (IRBs) also 'reviewed the project and determined that the research did not qualify as human subjects research.'..."

The Capital Times reports.

Interesting that the student leader speaks of "diversity issues" repeatedly, apparently without noticing that the survey is about an issue that is labeled "diversity": "viewpoint diversity." Maybe for students, "diversity" is a term of art, and it only means diversity of identity groups and has nothing to do with the life of the mind. 

Anyway, they're censoring the censorship survey. 

The University of Wisconsin marching band plays the "Star-Spangled Banner" today, at 4:45, on the practice field by Lake Mendota."He started playing guitar at 13 and attended the University of Wisconsin, where he performed at coffeehouses."

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