- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 21, 2015

A University of Wisconsin-Whitewater English professor offered extra credit to students to attend a rally protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts to the University.

Professor Beth Lueck offered her students extra credit to attend the Thursday night rally against the proposed 13 percent cut to the university system, and write a response to the event, the free-market MacIver Institute reported Thursday. Images of the announcement were posted on an internal university website that posts homework assignments and class announcements.

UW-Whitewater could lose $6.4 million in funding under Mr. Walker’s proposal, or 19 percent of the funding stream — the largest percentage hit of all universities in the system, according to the Wisconsin Reporter.

“You may get extra credit by joining the rally or by observing it or by protesting it,” Ms. Lueck told students in the post, the MacIver Institute reported.

Ms. Lueck ran as a Democrat in the 2014 23rd District Assembly race, but was defeated by Republican State Rep. Jim Ott.

Second semester freshman Matthew Yonts, a student in Ms. Lueck’s class, said that students were not told how much extra credit they would receive and added that the assignment was “out of line.”

“I took a political science class last semester. I can understand maybe doing this for that class but not an English class,” told the Wisconsin Reporter on Thursday.

“She’s obviously trying to influence her political views on us as a class, and I feel that’s wrong,” Mr. Yontz said. “I believe professors should be neutral on politics in the classroom, that they shouldn’t bring politics in, especially in an English class.”

In an email to Wisconsin Reporter late Thursday afternoon, Ms. Lueck stressed that students were not required to attend the event and that their political opinions would not affect the extra credit scores.

“The extra credit opportunity — not an assignment — requires students to write a response to the event or lecture that they attend. The amount of credit given has nothing to do with the views they express,” she wrote.

Mr. Yontz, a member of the campus Republican Club, said the situation might be very different if the rally supported Mr. Walker’s budget cuts.

“Would she give the same extra credit? I highly doubt it,” he said, the newspaper reported.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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