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Monday, June 24, 2024
Wisconsin Board of Regents

Courtesy of Althea Dotzour / UW–Madison

Walker appointee to remain on Board of Regents past end of term

Regent Robert Atwell, an appointee of Gov. Scott Walker, announced his intention to remain on the Board of Regents until a successor is appointed and confirmed.

Regent Robert Atwell will remain on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents past his term after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, advised him he could stay until a successor is appointed and confirmed. 

Atwell announced his decision in a Monday morning email to UW System President Jay Rothman, Board of Regents President Karen Walsh and Executive Director and Corporate Secretary Megan Wasley. This decision, first reported by WisPolitics, would protect a Republican-appointee during the remaining term of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, whose political appointees have been routinely blocked by Senate Republicans.

“Speaker Vos brought to my attention that the statute directs that, in the absence of a resignation, regents remain in office until their successor is appointed and confirmed,” Atwell said. “In light of that, I will remain on the Board until I resign or my successor is seated.”

Atwell said Rothman “recently confirmed” his understanding of the statue. 

Atwell was appointed to his seat in 2017 by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, with his term ending in May 2027. Since Evers assumed office in 2019, the GOP-controlled state Senate rejected 22 executive branch nominations and held hundreds more in legislative limbo by refusing to hold confirmation hearings. 

In March, Senate Republicans fired two unconfirmed Evers-appointed Regents. The Regents, John Miller and Dana Wachs, both voted against a December deal between the UW System and the Legislature capping diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in exchange for construction funding.

Atwell is one of two remaining Walker appointees on the Board of Regents. The other Walker appointee, Chris Peterson, was appointed to a term ending on May 1, 2025, also within Evers’ term.

Peterson told The Daily Cardinal she had a year left on her term and has not talked to anyone regarding plans to remain past the end of her term. 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 2:20 to include Peterson’s response. 

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Gavin Escott

Gavin Escott is the campus news editor for the Daily Cardinal. He has covered protests, breaking news and written in-depth on Wisconsin politics and higher education. He is the former producer of the Cardinal Call podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @gav_escott.

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