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Category: Opinion

Thousands of missed police killings prove we must address systemic bias in forensic science

The Washington Post

Peter Neufeld is a co-founder of the Innocence Project. Keith Findley is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Dean Strang is a criminal defense lawyer and law professor at Loyola University Chicago. Findley and Strang are also co-founders of the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences.

A new study from the University of Washington concludes that, over nearly 40 years, medical examiners and coroners undercounted killings by U.S. police by more than half. During that time, these officials missed or covered up more than 17,000 police killings between 1980 and 2018.

Opinion: Rebecca Blank’s exit a huge loss — and poses an even bigger challenge

The Capital Times

Blank, who announced Monday she is leaving to become president of Northwestern University in 2022, was named chancellor here in February 2013 when she was acting secretary of commerce under President Obama. Now she is leaving, and the consensus among insiders I spoke with Monday was that (a) she’s done an excellent job of navigating UW through exceptionally challenging times and (b) finding a replacement of her stature may prove profoundly difficult.

Higher education proposals support future students

The Capital Times

Column by state Sen. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire: The “Reaching Higher for Higher Education” package builds off of Gov. Tony Evers’ commitment to college affordability. The majority party made significant changes to the governor’s 2021-23 budget proposal, but there is still time to fix higher education by passing these bills.

Column: UW-Madison’s Hypocrisy

Daily Cardinal

As the University of Wisconsin-Madison nears a 93% rate of fully vaccinated students, there have yet to be substantial changes to its policies surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, many have even called for greater restrictions. Though, one must ask: why?

Make Europe provide for its own defense

Washington Examiner

As the U.S. refocuses on the long-term strategic threat posed by China, it is imperative that our wealthy, capable European allies step up in their own defense.

-Sascha Glaeser is a research associate at Defense Priorities. He focuses on U.S. grand strategy, international security, and trans-Atlantic relations. He holds a Master of International Public Affairs and a BA in international studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Greek life is not the problem — ignoring it is

Daily Cardinal

Blaming Greek Life — the entitled party animals — was an easy avenue at the start of the pandemic. In “Greek life being Greek life,” relentless socializing spurred the foreseeable lockdown of 22 sorority and fraternity houses at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. Presently, however, Greek life is not at fault — the blatant disregard for in-chapter sorority members are.

The message from Israel is clear: Covid booster shots should be standard

The Guardian

The biology of Sars-CoV-2 immunity, however, is the same whether you’re in Tel Aviv, Tokyo or Toronto. The pioneering Israeli work of making third doses the standard provides an instructive template for other countries to follow as quickly as possible, while also ensuring that this becomes the global standard of vaccination for everyone, no matter where they live.

-David O’Connor is professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin

The climate crisis is getting worse, but the solutions have improved dramatically

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Written by Gregory Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs. He is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report, which will be released by the United Nations in spring 2022. He is co-chair of the La Follette School’s Climate Policy Forum on Oct. 6.

As the House gears up for debate federal infrastructure spending to fight climate change, signs of a planetary-scale crisis are everywhere. Intense rainfall and floods, searing heat in normally cool locations, and relentless wildfires of enormous scale raging continuously.

I got breakthrough COVID. Yes, we should all be getting tested

Daily Cardinal

Put simply, the COVID-19 vaccine is not everything we hoped it might be. Let me be clear: The COVID vaccine is safe and effective, and if you haven’t gotten it, you should. With that said, it is becoming glaringly apparent that the vaccinated can still contract COVID-19 and spread it to others.

Letter to the Editor: We will move forward with “Rashomon”

Daily Cardinal

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the deep pain experienced by survivors of sexual assault and misconduct. As chair of the department, I am committed to fostering a safe, healthy climate and to treating reports of sexual assault and misconduct with the utmost seriousness.

Coronavirus vaccines work. But this statistical illusion makes people think they don’t.

The Washington Post

Is the vaccine wearing off? It’s an exhausting thought for those of us who believed the battle against covid-19 would be won once enough needles plunged into enough arms. But outbreaks of the delta variant have blossomed even in places with high levels of vaccination, including Israel, Britain and my own home of Madison, Wis. Recent reports from Israel that nearly 60 percent of people hospitalized with severe covid-19 were fully vaccinated raised particular alarms about the limits of the protection that vaccines provide.

–Jordan Ellenberg, a math professor at the University of Wisconsin, is the author of “Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.”

An evaluation of freshmen living amidst the housing crisis

Daily Cardinal

To help evaluate the options for incoming freshmen, Em-J Krigsman and Ian-Michael Griffin ⁠— the opinion editors on behalf of the Daily Cardinal ⁠— have offered their perspectives on their polar opposite freshmen living experiences. Em-J resided in the largest on-campus dorm and Ian-Michael selected a one-bedroom, off-campus apartment.

Thompson should impose jab mandate — Roy Christianson

Wisconsin State Journal

Letter to the editor: Before people nominate UW System President Tommy Thompson for a “Profiles in Courage” award for his refusal to let the Legislature in effect run the UW System, let’s consider the following. If Thompson is correct that UW has the right to determine how to manage its own health policy (which I strongly suspect he is), he is simply doing his job by refusing to let legislators like Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, dictate whether mask or vaccine mandates can be used.

Tommy Thompson: I have no plans to cede UW COVID policies to lawmakers

The Capital Times

Column by interim UW System president Thomnpson: The University of Wisconsin System owns a critical responsibility to open our classrooms this September to deliver the in-person education students deserve and parents expect. And we are planning to do just that. Unfortunately, some want us to ignore our unambiguous authority and duty under Wisconsin law to protect the “health, safety, and welfare of the university.”

Ivermectin for Covid-19: abundance of hype, dearth of evidence


Ivermectin proponents haven’t been content to wait for that research. In striking testimony before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in December 2020, Pierre Kory, a critical care physician who formerly worked for the University of Wisconsin Health University Hospital, described the “immense potency” of ivermectin, characterizing it as effectively a “miracle drug.” “All studies are positive,” he testified, “with considerable magnitude benefits, with the vast majority reaching strong statistical significance.”

Chicago Teachers to the Mayor: Put Human Needs Ahead of Banks

The Nation

Places like Chicago remain oppressive and unequal, Smith believes, because people—politicians and citizens alike—inherit systems of inequality and accept them, bereft of any vision that things could be different. But what Chicago’s politicians may be lacking in vision—beyond bovine calls to return to normal—Chicago teachers, activists, and community members have supplied in spades. They are boldly showing the way. Now it’s up to the mayor to follow.

-Eleni SchirmerEleni Schirmer, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, studies labor movements, social movements, and public education.

Tommy Thompson explains why he got vaccinated – and why you should, too

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

When I had an opportunity to become vaccinated against COVID-19 last spring, I didn’t hesitate. The vaccine clearly was the best way for me to protect myself and the people I care about from death or hospitalization due to COVID. I was also eager to do my part to help our society beat back this insidious disease.

The Unvaccinated Gift: A Masked Campus

The Daily Cardinal

Why, America? More and more I have asked this question to myself as I read through the hideous headlines about COVID-19, almost all pertaining to the problem the unvaccinated have caused. It has never made sense to me, even before the pandemic, why some folks legitimately do not trust vaccines. Even with experts and statistical data affirming the vaccine’s success, anti-vaxxers consistently have an endless list of excuses to sharply defend their reservations.

Opinion: UW should teach history, not expunge it

The Capital Times

Letter to the editor: I am writing with regard to the removal of the Chamberlin Rock from Observatory Hill on the UW campus, because it is regarded as a racist symbol. Yes, the 1925 Wisconsin State Journal article describing its installation uses an exceedingly racist noun to describe the rock. Regrettably, that term was common in American lingo for generations, as a descriptor for such rocks. I heard it while growing up in Iowa in the ’40s and ’50s but never used it.

Allow campuses to keep kids safe — Patricia M. Giesfeldt

Wisconsin State Journal

Letter to the editor: So Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, thinks he knows more than both interim University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson (a very well-respected former Republican governor) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it comes to keeping our college students safe during this uptick of the pandemic.

Cornell won’t approve disability-related requests to teach online

Inside Higher Education

Sami Schalk, an associate professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Cornell’s protocols are “great safety measures that will protect probably the vast majority of their campus. But there are many disabled folks or immunocompromised people who have been pretty hyper-isolated over the past year and a half. To force them out, it’s just unconscionable.”

As a new academic year begins, the state should recommit itself to the Wisconsin Idea

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This August, faculty, staff, and more than 160,000 students at the 13 University of Wisconsin campuses are hard at work, getting ready for a new academic year.  Wisconsinites are justifiably proud of the UW System, and with good reason. Our public university system, built on the foundation of the Wisconsin Idea, truly serves every corner of the state.

Is Graduate School Worth the Cost?

Wall Street Journal

At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a master’s in economics costs $38,917 a year in tuition and fees. This isn’t chump change, but the skills it provides are versatile and valued in the marketplace. According to PayScale, the median salary of economics M.A. graduates in the U.S. is $114,000 across a range of careers. Given the expected payoff, an economics graduate degree is worth the cost.—Sarah Eckhardt, University of Wisconsin, Madison, economics

Chris Cuomo’s CNN role in question after brother’s resignation

USA Today

“What happens to him at CNN is less important to me than what happens to all the other journalists whose ethics will be questioned and whose bond of trust with the citizens they serve could be damaged by the choices he made,” wrote Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication in an opinion piece for USA TODAY published this week.

Steve Nass and Co. make it harder to fight COVID

Wisconsin State Journal

Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, is insisting that universities seek approval from him and a handful of his skeptical colleagues for masking, vaccine and testing requirements on state campuses. Never mind that University of Wisconsin System schools have adopted and adjusted similar rules for more than a year now, which helped control COVID-19 among students, staff and surrounding communities.

Flexible parking, BRT good for UW-Madison campus — Patrick Kass

Wisconsin State Journal

Letter to the editor from Patrick Kass, director, transportation services, UW-Madison: Recently, we’ve had over 4,000 employees enroll in flexible parking options that allow them access to campus parking facilities without a commitment to purchasing a dedicated space for a full year. Combined with a robust bus rapid transit (BRT) system, these policies can build a network of transportation options that will allow our employees to access campus in convenient, cost-effective and more environmentally friendly ways.

Opinion: Legislation would make obesity medications more widely available and help reduce inequities in care

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Dr. Luke Funk is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Srividya Kidambi is an associate professor and chief in the Division of Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin/Froedtert Hospital. Dr. Christopher Weber is an obesity medicine specialist practicing in Milwaukee.

Important lessons for success in graduate school (opinion)

Inside Higher Education

When we hire graduate assistants at the University of Wisconsin at Madison Graduate School, we expect them to do a deep dive into graduate education administration — but what often surprises students is how much the experience prepares them for future careers.

Good start toward a grand promenade on State Street

Wisconsin State Journal

In a welcome change, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway unveiled plans last week to “likely” remove city buses from the lower half of State Street in Downtown Madison. Doing so would make way for a true pedestrian mall with cafes, public art, live music, trees, kiosks and fun events — without any motorized vehicle traffic. The street is already off-limits to most cars and trucks, but not buses.

Tom Still: Wisconsin must step up to compete for federal R&D dollars

Wisconsin State Journal

States around the country are gearing up for projects that could pair engineering schools and industry, but the dean of UW-Madison’s College of Engineering warned this week the state will be at a disadvantage unless there’s more investment in infrastructure needed to compete. “If we don’t act soon, we’re going to lose out,” said Ian Robertson, dean of Madison’s 4,500-student engineering college. “Others are going to get ahead of us. They’re all gearing up to go after the Endless Frontier money. It’s that simple.”