Law & Courts

Lawmakers Debate Wis. Admissions

By Alyson Klein — March 13, 2007 1 min read

A group of state lawmakers is seeking to overturn the University of Wisconsin system’s new admissions policy that requires campuses to review each applicant individually and consider factors such as race and past experiences along with academic record.

The legislators say the policy violates a 1973 state law prohibiting state universities from basing admissions decisions on race, gender, or religion.

Nineteen lawmakers, including 18 Republicans and one Democrat, sent a letter Feb. 20 to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, asking him to give an opinion on the matter. Mr. Van Hollen’s office is reviewing the letter, his spokesman said.

The new policy was approved unanimously last month by the board of regents that governs all 26 of Wisconsin’s public colleges. It would require admissions officers to provide a “holistic review” of each applicant, examining his or her socioeconomic status, membership in any historically underrepresented racial or ethnic group, and evidence of leadership and/or community service, as well as his or her academic record.

State Rep. Steve Nass, a Republican and one of the policy’s leading opponents, said that the new system doesn’t do enough to make sure that colleges are weighing academic achievement as the most important factor in admissions.

“Academics has to be number one. Period,” he said.

Mr. Nass said the changes could lead to a “brain-drain” if high-achieving students who do not get into their first-choice schools go to college outside the state.

But David F. Giroux, a spokesman for the board of regents, argued that not much will change under the new system, since it generally reflects what many of the state’s colleges—including the flagship University of Wisconsin campus in Madison—are doing anyway. He noted that UW-Madison and other campuses are already using a holistic review process in examining applications. He said the board was simply trying to update the system’s official policy, which was enacted in 1972 and is no longer used by some colleges.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see Colleges and Careers.

See other stories on education issues in Wisconsin. See data on Wisconsin’s public school system.

A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2007 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts Justice Department Memo Could Stoke State-Federal Fights Over Transgender Students' Rights
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, a Justice Department memo says.
3 min read
Stephanie Marty demonstrates against a proposed ban on transgender girls and women from female sports leagues outside the South Dakota governor's mansion in Pierre, S.D. on March 11, 2021.
Stephanie Marty demonstrates against a proposed ban on allowing transgender girls and women to play in female sports leagues outside the South Dakota governor's mansion in Pierre, S.D.
Stephen Groves/AP
Law & Courts Diverse Array of Groups Back Student in Supreme Court Case on Off-Campus Speech
John and Mary Beth Tinker, central to the landmark speech case that bears their name, argue that even offensive speech merits protection.
5 min read
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, Mary Beth Tinker, 61, shows an old photograph of her with her brother John Tinker to the Associated Press during an interview in Washington. Tinker was just 13 when she spoke out against the Vietnam War by wearing a black armband to her Iowa school in 1965. When the school suspended her, she took her free speech case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Her message: Students should take action on issues important to them. "It's better for our whole society when kids have a voice," she says.
In this 2013 photo, Mary Beth Tinker shows a 1968 Associated Press photograph of her with her brother John Tinker displaying the armbands they had worn in school to protest the Vietnam War. (The peace symbols were added after the school protest). The Tinkers have filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a Pennsylvania student who was disciplined for an offensive message on Snapchat.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Sympathetic to College Athletes' Challenge to NCAA Rules on Education Aid
The justices weighed a case about the definition of amateurism in college athletics that may trickle down to high school and youth sports.
6 min read
Law & Courts High School Sports World Watching U.S. Supreme Court Case on NCAA Compensation Rules
The body that sets high school sports rules worries that any change on amateurism in college athletics would trickle down to K-12.
5 min read