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Tool of the Week: UW-Stout’s investiture committee

Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 5, 2022

MADISON — There’s been a lot of talk lately about the high cost of higher education . That will happen when the president of the United States unconstitutionally decides to spend hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money “forgiving” college loan debt for a sliver of the population.

So now seems like a great time for the University of Wisconsin-Stout to hold a gilded investiture ceremony and Celebration Week to fete its chancellor — to the tune of $100,000.

As Empower Wisconsin reported, State Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), vice chairman of the Senate Universities and Technical Colleges Committee, last week sent a letter to UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank about the expensive party.

“First, it has been shared with me that the costs for your investiture (scheduled for October 14, 2022) and Celebration Week Events are approximately $100,000,” Nass wrote in the letter. The senator is requesting Frank provide expected total costs and sources of funding for the investiture and Celebration Week events — Oct. 10-14.

The investiture, a formal ceremony recognizing Frank as UW-Stout’s eighth chancellor, comes two and a half years after she took the post. In his letter, Nass writes that he assumes the decision to not hold the event sooner was made “due to the excessive Covid-19 policies on your campus.”

Nass also wants to know why Celebration Week, on “Embracing Diversity Day,” includes a keynote speech by Dr. Roger Kuhn of San Francisco. The university describes Kuhn as a “Poarch Creek Two-Spirit Indigequeer soma-culture sex therapist and sexuality educator.”

For the uninitiated to this woke-invented identifier, “Two-Spirit is a term that was created to describe Native American (USA) and First Nations (Canada) people who experience gender variance and/or sexual orientation variance,” Kuhn explains. “I identify as Two-Spirit and gay and have experienced both racism and homophobia on multiple occurrences in my life (even as recent as 2020).”

Levi Douty, a third-year student and chairman of UW-Stout College Republicans, has some questions about the expensive week, too.

“$100,00 is a lot of money for the university to be spending, especially for something a lot of students don’t wish to see on campus in the first place,” Douty said. “With the cost of college, to see the university recklessly spending money like that is an awful thing.”

He makes a good point.

Tuition, fees, housing and meals combined tops $18,000 a year at UW-Stout (based on a maximum 15-credit semester). So the cost for the chancellor’s posh investiture and Celebration Week could pay for an undergraduate degree at the university and then some.

It’s not clear how much the “Two-Spirit Indigequeer” is getting for his speech, but it’s likely more than the cost of a textbook or two.

Millions of Americans are asking why they are being charged so much for a college education. Many millions more Americans are asking why they are now on the hook to pay off someone else’s college debt. So it takes a special kind of tone deaf for a university to host a costly gala for its chancellor.

Frank, who pulls down $260,000 a year with state bennies, could certainly forego the expensive pomp and circumstance lo these two-plus years after taking her post.

For such tone deafness and toolness, the UW-Stout investiture committee is Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.

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