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Evers nominates new UW Regents, standoff continues

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(The Center Square) – The standoff over a seat on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents took another step forward.

Gov. Tony Evers named three new regents, including a replacement for Regent Bob Atwell.

““The work of the UW Board of Regents is as important as ever, and I have full confidence that the three individuals I am appointing today are ready and prepared to face these challenges head-on, to do what best interest for our students, faculty, and staff, and to ensure we have the fully funded, fully functioning UW System that Wisconsinites deserve and that meets the needs of our students, our workforce, and our local communities,” Evers said in a statement.

Evers appointed Tim Nixon as Atwell’s replacement. Nixon is a commercial lawyer at Godfrey & Kahn, both a UW-Green Bay and UW-Madison alum and is a frequent lecturer and speaker on commercial law.

But it’s not clear if Nixon will make it to the board.

Atwell, who is the last remaining regent appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker, is using the loophole in Wisconsin law that allows state appointees to remain in their positions until the replacement is named and confirmed.

The Wisconsin Senate has gone home for the year and won’t return until the spring. Even if senators take-up Nixon’s appointment, it’s unclear if they will confirm him.

Evers, in his appointment message, once again attacked the Republican-led legislature for what he calls their war on the university.

“Our UW System is at a critical juncture after a decade-long war waged on higher education by Republican lawmakers in our state, the devastating results of which we are seeing firsthand as campuses close their doors, layoff staff, and cut programs,” Evers added in his statement.

Atwell has the law on his side. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that appointees can remain at their posts until replaced.

Former DNR Board member Fred Prehn drove that case.

Republicans are quick to point-out that Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe is using the same loophole to stay in her job. The Elections Commission has refused to officially nominate her for a second term as a way to avoid a Senate confirmation vote that she would certainly lose.

Evers also named Jack Salzwedel, and Desmond Adongo to regent seats that emptied last month.

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