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UW president ‘disappointed’ in UW-M’s agreement with protesters

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(The Center Square) – Just days after University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s chancellor finalized an agreement with campus protesters, the head of the UW is expressing his disappointment in that deal.

University of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman took to social media to explain how the university moves forward after weeks of campus protest camps.

“Maintaining viewpoint neutrality on challenging public issues is critically important, especially in situations where students and other university stakeholders on multiple sides of an issue are in vehement disagreement. We also need to ensure that there is accountability and responsibility for actions taken on our campuses,” Rothman wrote on X. “I am disappointed by the course taken by UW-Milwaukee, and I am continuing to assess the decision-making process that led to this result.”

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone’s agreement with campus protesters includes a promise to schedule a meeting with UWM Foundation money managers in exchange for a promise not to disrupt this weekend’s graduation ceremony.

That promise is similar to the agreement from UW-Madison’s chancellor that ended the campus protests there.

But Mone went further in his agreement.

The UW-Milwaukee agreement also called for a ceasefire in Gaza, condemned genocide and demanded that Hamas release hostages it took on Oct. 7. The agreement also calls on Israel to release people in its jails.

“Innocent civilians, especially children, must not be the targets of war. This is why we also call for the release of the remaining Israeli and international hostages held by Hamas and the release of Palestinian men, women and children held as hostages in military detention in Israel. We condemn all violence and call for it to end,” the agreement states.

Mone also agreed not to punish the protesters who illegally camped on the Milwaukee campus for nearly two weeks.

“The chancellor and the provost have agreed to forgo relevant citations or conduct violations for the Coalition and the student groups copied on this message,” the agreement states. “This exemption only applies to camping activity and does not apply to activities such as, but not limited to, vandalism or property damage.”

Rothman said he’s been clear he supports the right to protest on campus, but he’s also been clear that camping is illegal on UW property.

“Our universities must be committed to providing an environment where issues can be vigorously and passionately debated, but students must be free from harassment and intimidation,” Rothman added. “We understand that the current situation is challenging, complex, and not subject to easy resolution. Our public universities have a responsibility to focus on the educational mission in support of all of our students and the state of Wisconsin.”

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