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Monday, June 24, 2024
Wisconsin Board of Regents

Courtesy of Althea Dotzour / UW–Madison

Walker appointee resigns from Board of Regents after Evers appoints successor

UW System Regent Robert Atwell, who planned to remain on the Board of Regents until a successor was seated, resigned on Monday.

After planning to remain on the Board of Regents after his term expired, Republican-appointed University of Wisconsin Regent Robert Atwell announced his immediate resignation following Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ appointment of a successor. 

Atwell’s Monday night decision caps off a week of uncertainty surrounding the status of his Regents position, which expired on May 1. Atwell said on May 24 he would remain on the Board until a “successor is seated” after acting on the advice on Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester. 

This decision drew criticism from Democrats, who accused Vos of protecting a GOP-appointed seat during the remainder of Evers’ term. 

On Friday, Evers appointed Tim Nixon, a commercial lawyer and graduate of UW-Green Bay and UW-Madison, to replace Atwell to serve a term lasting until May 2031. 

After the appointment last week, Evers told The Daily Cardinal Atwell “was a person of extraordinary integrity,” and he believed Atwell would voluntarily decide to leave the Board of Regents at a later time. 

Atwell praised Nixon in a Wispolitics statement Monday, saying he would “serve our universities exceptionally well.” Atwell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on his decision to resign before Nixon was confirmed by the Legislature. 

“My focus has been on the forthcoming legislative council and the importance of UW’s constructive engagement with the Legislature and all the people we exist to serve,” Atwell said.

With Atwell’s immediate resignation, the status of the Regents position is unclear. It is unlikely the state Senate will consider Nixon’s nomination soon, as the Legislature finished its session mid-May and likely won’t return before 2025. 

Nixon expressed his gratitude to Evers Friday for his nomination and said he was excited to get to work.

“I am honored that Governor Evers asked me to serve the University and the people of Wisconsin,” said Nixon. “This is an opportunity to give back, in a unique way, to an institution that has done much for me and my family.” 

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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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