UW Credit Union wins EPA designation

The UW Credit Union has achieved the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Leadership Club designation for 2013.

The company received the Leadership Club designation due to its 100 percent usage of renewable energy for lighting.

It is Wisconsin’s eighth business, as well as the nation’s first credit union, to receive this achievement, according to the company’s press release.

The UW Credit Union has joined the likes of Microsoft, the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Air Force, to name a few. There are more than 1,400 partners in this effort, according to the EPA.

Paul Kundert, UW Credit Union president and CEO, realizes the importance of this recognition.

“We’re committed to doing what is right for our members and our environment,” Kundert said in a press release. “As an organization that continues to grow, we are dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint just as we are dedicated to our members’ best interest.”

This honor was no surprise to Brad McClain, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the UW Credit Union.

“We’ve had more enhanced efforts in buying renewable energy,” McClain said. “Relative to that, one of the qualifications is you have a stronger percentage of green power for operations.”

In order to accomplish that, McClain said the credit union purchased green power for its headquarters, which is its largest building. After that, it made the decision in January to expand its purchase to all of the facilities it operates, including the one on the UW-Green Bay campus.

The most important criteria to be met in order to gain Leadership status is the percentage of green power based on the annual wattage needed for a facility, according to the EPA.

A full 100 percent rating was needed for facilities using 1 to 10 million kilowatt-hours per year.

EPA guidelines also mandated that these requirements had to be met with power from new renewable facilities — that is, facilities installed within the last 15 years.

The credit union purchases a little more than 2 million kilowatt hours per year for its facilities, McClain said. As a result, this eliminates about 5.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

“When it’s all said and done, that’s the critical element to what this is all about,” McClain said.

McClain recognizes the importance of this designation as an eco-friendly establishment, as well as the sole financial institution to receive this designation so far.

“It’s a confirmation of what we’re doing and the recognition we receive as part of an EPA partnership of the green efforts we’ve put forward to lessen our impact on the environment,” McClain said.

McClain said these sustainability partnerships differentiate this credit union from not just a credit union perspective, but also a broader, financial institution perspective.

Besides purchasing green power, the credit union constructs its branches under the league-certified standards of the EPA.

Since 2007, the credit union also reduced its water usage by 16 percent as well as its carbon dioxide emissions by 75 percent, according to a press release.

McClain said some features include energy efficient lighting fixtures, zone heating and air conditioning, water consumption-sensitive plumbing fixtures, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals.

“There’s nothing overtly exciting in these plumbing fixtures, but they sure do lessen the impact on our usage of water,” McClain said.

Aside from its partnership with the EPA, the credit union also established a partnership with Sustain Dane, a sustainability initiative based in Dane County, McClain said.

Sustain Dane’s main focus is to lessen the corporate impacts on the environment by partnering with corporate businesses and exchanging ideas and suggestions with the businesses.

The credit union has partnered with Sustain Dane for more than four years. It’s a group the credit union can have a free-flowing exchange of ideas with, McClain said.

“That’s where we really started to engage strongly in our efforts from a sustainability standpoint,” McClain said.

UWGB student promotes UW System online

UW-Green Bay senior English education major Nellie Schafer was recently chosen to represent the UWGB campus through the UW System’s Knowledge Powers Wisconsin program.

Schafer showcased the university and what it has to offer using Twitter.

Schafer impressed UW System administrators with her creative tweeting abilities.

Knowledge Powers Wisconsin program, which researches the effectiveness of each individual UW campus in the UW System and how it appeals to students across the state, created the UW Powers Me Twitter account.

It marks a new way for students, alumni, faculty and staff to share their UW experiences. It offers an interesting new insight into today’s UW campuses in the hopes of offering perspective to students from other universities and high school students.

David Giroux, executive director of communications and external relations for the UW System, is heading the campaign to find what the UW System offers the state of Wisconsin. He said their goal involves three components: a stronger workforce, stronger businesses and stronger communities.

“We want to show how the university impacts those three things,” Giroux said. “The UW Powers Me Twitter account is part of that campaign.”

He said it has been the most unique and outside-of-the-box strategy they’ve thought of so far to generate feedback from students, alumni and professors.

“A good way to explain the theory behind the page is less corporate and more organic,” Giroux said. “Instead of the university talking about how it educates 180,000 students, we want to give a voice to one student on how they are empowered by their UW experience.”

As the voice of UWGB, Schafer said her main goal in managing account for the week was to tell how students benefit from being at a UW college. It gives an outlet to students to tell their story.

Schafer utilized her week by tweeting 250 times about different things going on at the campus. She tweeted a song of the day and night, inspirational quotes, pictures of things going on and sound bites from students on campus.

“I started getting creative and contacted as many areas of the university as I could to see what they had going on,” Schafer said.

Giroux said everyone was pleased with Schafer’s tweets and her unique insight into the UWGB experience.

“Nellie was the perfect example of how one person can bring their own voice,” Giroux said. “She did an excellent job engaging people with photos and videos.”

Christopher Sampson, UWGB director of university communication, also applauded Schafer’s efforts with the Twitter page.

“Schafer was so well versed in social media,” Sampson said. “She set a very high bar for the UW campuses that are going to follow.”

Sampson said that the Twitter followers were almost doubled in the week Schafer managed the UW Powers Me page.

“The UW system administrators in Madison couldn’t get over how interesting her posts were and how prolific she was,” Sampson said. “They were very impressed.”

Sampson said when it comes to projects like this, the best sales people are going to be students.

Schafer is actively involved on campus. As an English education major, she also participates regularly in the education program on campus, has been a part of multiple organizations around campus and has been on the dean’s list.

Schafer’s enthusiasm was evident on the UW Powers Me Twitter page. She immediately gained student followers from UWGB and other universities. She also talked to many high school students who were either looking at the campus or who were already admitted to the school.

“It was a really cool experience,” Schafer said. “I didn’t know how well it was going to be received at first, but I’m glad I got the chance to showcase the university and everything it has to offer. It shows where we come from and where we’re planning to go. It is something I’m proud of, and I’m also proud of our university.”

UWGB mourns loss of outreach art instructor

The UW-Green Bay community is mourning the loss of Arda Ishkhanian, painting instructor for UWGB’s Outreach and Summer Art Studio camps program. Ishkhanian died in a single-car accident Feb. 7 while traveling to Wadi Hitan, a paleontological site near Fayoum City, Egypt.

Ishkhanian was born in Cairo, Egypt, and is survived by her husband, UWGB Art Curator Stephen Perkins, daughter Nina Perkins and brother Arlen Ishkhanian, according to her obituary published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette Feb. 26.

Those who worked with or knew Ishkhanian were impressed by her love of teaching the arts, particularly to children.

David Coury, UWGB professor of humanistic studies and friend of Ishkhanian, remembers the passion she had for creating and teaching art.

“Arda was well known throughout Green Bay as an advocate and teacher of art,” Coury said. “She was so warm and funny —just a wonderful person.”

Of Armenian descent, Ishkhanian was born in Egypt and attended high school in Beirut before immigrating to America in 1979. Ishkhanian graduated from California College of Arts with a degree in film and video in 1985. She then went on to study interactive multimedia at San Francisco State University and later received a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Iowa in 1994, according to her online biography.

Ishkhanian taught at Green Bay Public School and De Pere Public School throughout the previous 10 years. More recently, she taught at Wisconsin International School in De Pere, but she hasn’t always taught in Wisconsin.

“She lived and worked in San Francisco before teaching in this area,” Coury said. “She was incredibly curious, like all good artists are, and she traveled a lot.”

Ishkhanian had traveled to a number of countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Germany, France, England, Scotland, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belize, Guatemala, among many others.

Travel played a large role in her teaching philosophy. Ishkhanian’s artwork has been displayed in New York City, Amsterdam, Cairo, Chicago, Iowa City, San Francisco and Green Bay. She was also fluent in four languages: Armenian, Arabic, English and French, according to her online biography.

Ishkhanian’s artwork was most recently exhibited at the Neville Public museum. Ishkhanian was also co-curator of the WC Gallery in De Pere, according to her obituary published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette Feb. 26.

A temporary account has been created by friends of Stephen Perkins at the UW Credit Union, located in the University Union, for those who would like to assist in efforts to mitigate travel expenses or other costs.

“This was so sudden, and there were a lot of expenses associated with traveling to Egypt to take care of the arrangements,” Coury said. “We wanted any friends or colleagues who want to assist her family to have the opportunity to do so. Really anyone in the UWGB community is welcome to help ease their financial burden during this difficult time.”

UW System overpays employees

A recent report indicates 60 UW System employees received compensation beyond legal limits set by Wisconsin law, including one UW-Green Bay employee.

According to law, full-time and salaried employees providing services apart from normal work duties cannot receive more than $12,000 in extra pay annually.

A Feb. 12 Gannet Wisconsin Media report indicates some UW System schools violated the cap more than others. Of the 13 UW System schools, 60 employees received compensation beyond statutory limits.

Four UW System schools didn’t exceed the $12,000 overpay limit for any employee. In addition to UWGB, UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse each had one employee exceed the cap. Of the 60 faculty and staff overpaid throughout the state, two are considered UW System employees and weren’t listed as faculty of any particular school, according to the report.

Professors and lecturers who took on more work than their salaries allotted were the primary recipients of pay exceeding the statutory limits.

David Giroux, UW System spokesperson, noted the overpayments shouldn’t have occurred and better training could have prevented this from happening.

“It’s not an excuse, but it doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem that can’t be fixed with some local instruction and coaching to the employees involved,” Giroux said in a Gannet Wisconsin interview Feb. 11. “No matter how small the number, however, people should have been aware of the cap and the need to avoid such situations.”

The UW System consists of 26 campuses — 13 universities and 13 technical colleges. Approximately 3,200 full-time and salaried employees received overload compensation during 2012 and averaged $4,000 each. However, technical college instructors averaged $12,000 in overages while university professors averaged $1,400, according to the Gannet Media analysis.

During 2012, UW-Green Bay compensated 165 employees beyond their standard salary. Of those, one employee received compensation for work beyond the $12,000 threshold, in the amount of $12,818.

Sheryl Van Gruensven, UWGB human resource director, noted the oversight in payment was due to the employee working for more than one campus.

“We are constantly tracking overload payments and duties performed by our faculty,” Van Gruensven said. “The reason why our employee went over $12,000 was because of work performed at another campus. That’s difficult to track.”

According to the statute, UW System employees receiving more than $12,000 in overpay are required to repay the overage. However, this would conflict with labor laws, which require employers to pay employees for completed work.

“We are legally obligated to pay people for the work they’ve done,” Giroux said in a Badger Herald report published March 13. “We cannot take pay back from people who have done work to earn that pay.”

UWGB’s human resource department, along with others from institutions throughout Wisconsin, won’t have to consider the cap in the near future. This June, the statute regarding overload pay will be voided, and UW System faculty won’t be limited to the current cap of $12,000 of overload pay.

Wisconsin’s 13 technical colleges don’t abide by the same statute. Each technical college campus can compensate instructors accordingly as workloads increase. Like universities throughout the state, technical colleges experience staff shortages caused by retirements, resignations or other issues.

In a 2011 letter addressed to Gov. Walker, Kevin Reilly, UW System president, addressed the issue of overload pay and how it impacts UW System students and faculty.

“The Legislature established a $12,000 limit on overload pay for university faculty members in the 1970s, and that cap remains in effect today,” Reilly said. “This constrains faculty creativity and entrepreneurship by removing the incentive to pursue outside funding for projects that have the potential to employ others, give students hands-on research experience and benefit the local economy.”

As current laws on professorial overpay expire, it will offer universities the same flexibility for faculty compensation already afforded technical colleges throughout Wisconsin.

“We are in the process of developing a new policy to provide guidance for when employees may work and receive an overload,” Van Gruensven said. “We want to ensure the quality of teaching and other responsibilities are maintained at a high level in conjunction with any other additional work taken on.”

According to the report, UW-Oshkosh had the most with 18, UW-Whitewater followed with 10, UW-Stout had nine, UW-Superior with seven, UW-Stevens Point with six and UW-Milwaukee had five, according to an online Gannet Wisconsin Media database.

Students behind on loan payments nationally

In the past four years, college debt loads have increased and a growing number of students are borrowing money to pay tuition. But as the number of students borrowing increases, the percentage of young borrowers to fall behind on their student loan payments has skyrocketed.

A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said 35 percent of people under 30 who have student loans were at least 90 days delinquent on their payments at the end of 2012. That’s up from 26 percent at the end of 2008 and 21 percent in 2004.

Sue Steeno, assistant director for the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment, said statistics at UW-Green Bay aren’t nearly as staggering.

Steeno said the default rate at UWGB has gone down from 2.8 percent to 2.3 percent during the last year, according to records for the fiscal years of 2010 and 2009. She said these rates are well below the current national average of 9.1 percent.

“While this is a good thing, our population of defaulted students has indeed gone up during the long term, and I’m sure some of this can be attributed to the economy as well as other factors,” Steeno said. “In the 2008 fiscal year, our default rate was just 0.8 percent, so you can see that it has definitely gone up during a longer period of time.”

Shannon Bauer, former UWGB student and financial services employee of nine years, said making payments on time is very important.

“Payment history is a major factor in a person’s credit score, which affects his or her ability to borrow money for anything in the future, including a car or home,” Bauer said.

However, making payments on time is becoming increasingly difficult for some graduates.

Junior accounting major Matthew Honzik has worked in the financial services industry for four years. He said the amount people are getting paid after graduation is not keeping pace with the cost of tuition, which inevitably results in delinquencies.

“We have a system in place where there’s a constant rise in the price to attend college,” Honzik said. “The price of school is inflated because student loans are easy to get, whereas if people with the same income level were to apply for a home loan, they wouldn’t be able to do so because there’s no income.”

Steeno said about 70 percent of the student population borrows at some point during their time in college, and that number that hasn’t changed much over the years.

Statistics from UWGB’s Institutional Research Office show the number of UWGB students to complete the FAFSA is up to 81 percent for the 2012-13 academic year compared to 77 percent for the 2009-10 academic year.

Steeno said students should borrow no more than is necessary to cover their expenses. Following a budget is an effective way for students to ensure they are not borrowing too much.

“When meeting with students to discuss borrowing, we always counsel them on taking out only what is needed and following a budget rather than borrowing the maximum,” Steeno said. “All new student borrowers also have to complete what is called Loan Entrance Counseling, which is a federal requirement.”

The online session educates students on loan fees, the effect of borrowing and students’ rights and responsibilities when borrowing from a student loan program. Steeno said students can calculate their direct costs of attendance and money management on the financial aid office’s website.

Senior communication major Corrissa Frank said she thinks students don’t completely understand what kind of commitment they are signing up for when agreeing to paying back what they owe.

“They automatically think by the time they graduate, they will be able to pay back the large debt of tuition,” Frank said. “But it takes an actual plan to be prepared.”

Frank said it’s important for people to plan their decisions about where to go to school and what they expect for a salary once they graduate.

“It’s important to consider what a post-graduation salary will be when deciding how much to borrow,” Honzik said. “College is important, but don’t let debt rule your life.”

Garden of Hope comes to Green Bay

New Community Shelter’s dream to make an environmentally-friendly park in downtown Green Bay will soon be a reality thanks to a partnership with Leadership Green Bay.

The space, located at 301 Mather St., is an adjacent lot on the corner of North Broadway and Mather streets, which became available for purchase during the expansion project.

New Community Shelter purchased the space in 2010.As development on the project began to form, plans were put on hold until funds could be secured. Almost 90 percent of all New Community Shelter funding comes from the community, and no city or taxpayer dollars support the shelter.

Recently, a group from the Leadership Green Bay program met with different area nonprofit organizations to find a partner for a community service project.

Dan Terrio, youth development manager for the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, said the group thought the New Community Shelter’s idea to create the Garden of Hope was something that would benefit both the shelter and the community as a whole.

Terrio, a member of the Leadership Green Bay class of 2013, is a 2012 graduate of UW-Green Bay with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He’s also a current master’s degree candidate in the applied leadership for teaching and learning program.

“When we met with New Community Shelter, we became immersed in the work they do in the community,” Terrio said. “We decided the park was the route to go, and we took it on as our group project.”

Leadership Green Bay is a program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Since it began, more than 900 middle-to-upper-level management members have graduated from the program. The mission of Leadership Green Bay is to develop and foster leaders by providing education about local community strengths and opportunities and to encourage community stewardship.

“The New Community Shelter is excited to be the beneficiary of a Leadership Green Bay group project,” said Terri Refsguard, executive director at the New Community Shelter. “This will be a wonderful complement to our focus and priority first and foremost: helping adults experiencing homelessness and providing meals to children and adults who are hungry.”

New Community Shelter Director of Development Kris Olson said the organization is thrilled to be associated with members of Leadership Green Bay.

“Leadership Green Bay is certainly leaving a permanent footprint and a lasting impression on this organization and the community,” Olson said. “The group has enhanced our plan to include things we hadn’t originally thought about.”

The park will include amenities like benches, flower beds, trees, green space, seven raised gardens, a green shed for storage of gardening supplies and a meditation circle for group meetings, classes and counseling services.

It will be open to the public and will also include lighting and cameras for security purposes.

“When a resident is in a room with seven people, they need a neutral place where they can go and clear their head and also dream,” Terrio said. “The Garden of Hope can provide this.”

The park will also include vegetable gardens that residents will have the opportunity to maintain.

Olson said the food could be used in the shelter’s community meal program, which has served more than 116,000 meals to children and adults from the community who otherwise would have gone without food.

“Our mission is to provide homeless adults housing, food and professional supportive services necessary to become self-sufficient,” Olson said. “And we feed children and adults from throughout the community who are hungry and would otherwise not have the means to eat.”

Olson said nonprofit organizations in the community are working hard to raise funds. raising money for the park has been more challenging when the economy is not doing well and the cost of gas and other goods is higher, Olson said.

“For the New Community Shelter, that’s when even more people need our help,” Olson said. “So raising money to keep our 24/7/365 organization running can be a challenge.”

Raising money to pay for the park’s amenities has officially started.

Sponsorship options range from a $500 option that will allow donors to have their name on a plaque to a $100,000 option that will give a donor park-naming rights. Various other donation options are also available.

Let’s Get Digital

Technology in the classroom is becoming a personalized experience as students at some area schools now have access to tablets or laptops for individual use. Some argue this could be the way of the future for all schools.

Area schools, like Kewaunee School District for example, are offering iPads to students in fifth and ninth grade. And Roncalli High School in Manitowoc offers HP netbooks for students.

John Stelzer, president at Roncalli High School, said this is the third year Roncalli’s program to provide students with HP netbook laptop computers has been in operation. The program and wireless network were put in place after a donation from benefactors.

“In addition to the obvious advantages of personal computers, we have been very pleased with our teachers and their increased level of utilizing technology throughout the curriculum,” Stelzer said. “Previous to the netbooks, there were students who did not have access to technology at home.”

During a time when technology is becoming increasingly necessary to complete assignments, school districts are finding themselves faced with the need to provide all students access to such devices.

“Considering more than 50 percent of our students receive financial aid, this access to technology leveled the availability for all students,” Stelzer said. “In addition, we feel that the opportunity for students to do research and submit homework after school hours has greatly increased.”

However, the introduction of new technology into the education field does not come without some opposition.

There are those like UW-Green Bay senior math major Jessica Shimon who don’t think providing laptops or tablets for all students in a school district is quite worth the expense.

“I know society is different today than it was when I was in high school, but we all did just fine without the use of a personal laptop,” Shimon said. “I personally don’t think the educational benefit is worth the expense. Most kids already have a laptop, and if they don’t, they have access to the computer labs at school.”

When it comes to providing students with technology in higher education, the experience is not yet quite as personalized. At UWGB, for example, students can check out Kindle e-readers and iPads for up to a week, or they can check out a laptop for use within the library. However, mass distribution among students is still not a norm for the university.

Josh Goldman, manager of user support for UWGB computing and information technology, said UWGB looked into ordering laptops and tablets in the past. He said UW-Stout, for example, currently offers a program for students.

Goldman said these programs for higher education usually work one of two ways. One option is when the university raises tuition at a fixed rate to cover the cost of the laptops provided to students. The other option is when the university requires students to purchase a laptop on their own based on minimum specifications set by the university.

“In both of these cases, the cost gets passed down to the student, either directly or indirectly,” Goldman said. “So at a time when there is a push to minimize costs, we have not any further pursued this. There are also software licensing costs to consider when deploying a laptop into every student’s hands.”

While there is a potential for cost savings for students by using tablets or e-readers in place of textbooks, Goldman said not all publishers are onboard with this yet.

“In some of these cases, the cost is similar to hard copies and the students are unable to resell their e-copies and after a certain time they expire,” Goldman said. “As more publishing companies get onboard with eTextbook technologies and reconsider their licensing, this may at some point become a more viable option.”

Goldman said he doesn’t think it would be beneficial for all students to have an iPad at this time. While he said it has certain benefits like email, web surfing and some academic apps, disadvantages like not having Microsoft Office Suite prevent it from being useful for all aspects of education.

Shimon said she thinks it would be fine for UWGB to provide laptops or tablets for students at students’ expense.

“I don’t think they should be buying them for us,” Shimon said. “but if they give students the option to buy one from them, I don’t see that as a problem.”

Wisconsin falls behind on job growth

According to a new survey done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin ranked 44th in the nation in job creation. This data was gathered from September 2011 to September 2012.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin’s rank has progressively declined since early 2012. The state was ranked 41st in the U.S. from June 2011 to June 2012 and from a rank of 37th from March 2011 to March 2012.

This data, called the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, is based on a census of 96 percent of all, non-farm workers public and private, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Many factors could explain the decrease in job creation, said David Helpap, UW-Green Bay assistant professor of public and environmental affairs.

Some argue the instability caused by Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial 2011 budget repair bill, Act 10, may have made the Wisconsin’s business climate less favorable to business creation.

“It would be both because of the conflict between the government and unions, and if anything would stay long term,” Helpap said. “That makes it difficult for businesses to plan regarding things like tax climate and labor issues.”

One industry that could get hit hard in this job creation slump is manufacturing. Helpap said Wisconsin still relies on manufacturing quite a bit, and has had its share of challenges the past 30 years.

Helpap said manufacturing is changing from people on lines in 40-hour-a-week jobs to people with advanced degrees who know how to operate certain types of machinery.

“As a state, we’re still trying to adapt to this,” Helpap said. “The jobs we’ve seen lost, on a number of fronts, are manufacturing-type positions.”

Given the state’s investment in the agricultural industry with an older base, Wisconsin may not be among the cutting-edge states in technology, said Michael Kraft, UWGB professor emeritus of public and environmental affairs.

“You could argue it’s less likely we’d create jobs here than California’s Silicon Valley, Florida, Arizona or any other number of states that have a different kind of economy,” Kraft said.

Wisconsin would most likely compare with states like Michigan and Ohio. They have an older industrial base like Wisconsin and have not done well in recent years for job creation, Kraft said.

However, Michigan has benefitted from the revival of the auto industry.

“There’s no comparable industry in Wisconsin that has shown a massive turnaround like that,” Kraft said.

In order to get out of this slump, Helpap said one method the legislature and the governor might be using is taxes. However, there are indications taxes are only one facet businesses look at when moving to an area.

“Others are quality of life, infrastructure, transportation options and an education populace,” Helpap said, “If you get rid of some of those services, maybe for certain businesses, that’s problematic.”

Whatever the case may be, job creation and economic development in any environment are multi-faceted topics.

“It can be very hard to pinpoint one thing, and if you do, you’re not looking at the whole picture,” Helpap said.

FOUL PLAY?

UW-Green Bay opened an investigation into the conduct of men’s basketball coach Brian Wardle after receiving two separate complaints from the parents of former players.

UWGB Chancellor Thomas Harden received an email April 9 from the parents of freshman center Ryan Bross alleging mistreatment on Wardle’s behalf. The email detailed verbal abuse and harassment.

In a statement released April 10, Harden said the university planned to look into the complaint.

The second complaint was filed by the Gina Cougill, the mother of senior Brennan Cougill, late last week.

The letter, which Cougill made available to the Green Bay Press Gazette, cited several issues she had with Wardle. Those issues included an instance when Wardle referred to her son’s clinical depression as a distraction to the team.

“These young men were entrusted to the UWGB coaching staff to mold and shape them into adulthood,” she wrote. “That statement itself makes me quiver because, from my perspective, the only shaping has been verbal abuse and bullying towards most of the players.”

While Cougill has remained relatively quiet on the issue, he told the Press-Gazette he felt he needed to come forward in part because of the backlash against Bross.

The university has hired local attorney Joseph M. Nicks of Godfrey & Kahn law firm to conduct the investigation. According to Godfrey & Kahn’s website, Nicks practices one business litigation in Wisconsin and federal courts.

UWGB Communications Director Christopher Sampson said the university wanted to hire someone with no direct ties to the school.

In regard to a time frame for the investigation, Nicks said it will depend on the availability of witnesses.

Sampson added the investigation could take up to several weeks.

“We want to do this as fast as possible,” Sampson said. “However, we are also encouraging Mr. Nicks to be as thorough as possible. He’ll have free reign to for interviews and fact finding.”

Public records requests for the email from Bross’s parents to Harden have been declined. According to Sampson, UW System legal counsel said the email is protected correspondence under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which allows students control over the disclosure of information from their records.

As of April 15, Sampson said Wardle will remain in his coaching position.

“Wardle is still coaching the team,” Sampson said. “He has contact with the team, but he was advised not to talk about the situation with his players.”

However, Wardle’s locker room will be without a few familiar faces next year. Since February, four players have left the men’s basketball program. Guard Kam Cerroni, who played 73 games during his three years with the Phoenix, left the team Feb. 14, alluding to differences with Wardle. Bross and freshman Nick Arenz announced their decision to leave shortly after the end of the season. Guard Sultan Mohammed, who started 24 games this year, also informed Wardle of his intentions to leave April 8. He cited family concerns as the reason behind his departure.

The news of this investigation comes on the heels of a similar situation at Rutger’s University earlier this month. Men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired April 9 after a video leaked of him verbally and physically abusing players.

When asked, Sampson did not comment on whether similar incidents had occurred at UWGB in the past, but he did point to the Rutgers University scandal as one reason why this particular complaint has been hyped up in the media. Harden said he hopes the investigation will shed light on whether this was part of a larger problem on the team.

“I don’t want to make an assumption one way or the other,” Harden told the Press-Gazette last week. “We don’t have widespread complaints or allegations. We have this allegation, the complaint that I got Tuesday night, which we do think we need to check out, and we’re going to do it really well.”

Meanwhile, the effect of the investigation on recruitment and ticket sales has yet to be addressed. Sampson said the university will remain focused on the investigation before it comments on any secondary issues.

“If you start talking about those kinds of issues, people think you’re not focused on what’s important,” Sampson said. “Until the investigation is over and any fallout is resolved, the university will not address that.”

Some UWGB students have their own opinions on the matter.

Marc Joyce, junior education major, said he was surprised by the allegations against Wardle.

“I don’t know all the details, but from what I can tell, he’s a pretty good coach,” Joyce said. “I’ve never heard anything bad about him, he always seems composed on the bench and he’s always friendly when I see him around campus.”

Regardless, Wardle, 33, has left an indelible mark on UWGB during his three seasons. He became the youngest Division 1 head coach when UWGB hired him in 2010, signing a five-year contract, which was extended twice during the last two years. Coming off his best season, he has four more years on his current contract.

Recent election yields low turnout

Citizens across Wisconsin made their way to the polls April 2 to vote for the State Supreme Court Justice and Superintendent of Public Instruction.

While certain districts and counties were voting for their clerks and school board members among others, the main focus was the race between the justice and superintendent nominees.

This race for Supreme Court justice was between incumbent Pat Roggensack and challenger Ed Fallone. For the superintendent position, it was incumbent Tony Evers against Don Pridemore.

According to Wisconsinvote.org, so far the polls show the incumbents have come out on top, with Roggensack edging out Fallone 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent. Evers beat out Pridemore 61.2 percent to 38.9 percent.

Roggensack’s victory didn’t surprise some people, among them David Helpap, UW-Green Bay assistant professor of public and environmental affairs.

“For state Supreme Court to have an incumbent lose is pretty rare, simply because of name recognition, resources, these types of things,” Helpap said.

Unless some sort of controversy happens with the race, like 2011’s controversial budget bill, Helpap expects the current trend of incumbent-led election to continue.

“You need some sort of driving event to get people interested in races like this,” Helpap said.

Some of these elections, mainly lower-level state ones, may not receive as much attention as others.

Helpap said this is probably because lower-level state elections, even state Supreme Court, don’t register with many voters. Some of them don’t realize the type of legislation coming before this court.

“If these judges think they can get re-elected on a minimal budget with minimal advertising and attention, that’s what they’re going to do,” Helpap said.

Despite the availability of voting booths on campus, students didn’t show up to vote, although some would have.

Johnathan Currah, sophomore business administration major, said he knew there was an election and would have voted if he had known who and what was up for election.

Aaron Mueller, sophomore environmental science major, voted. According to Mueller, there were not many people voting.

For those who didn’t vote, there could be more at stake than they might think.

Whether it’s Walker’s controversial budget repair bill, Act 10, or voter ID legislation, the state Supreme Court hears a lot of issues that impact students, Helpap said.

“If they realized this legislation was going before those courts, I think they would get more involved,” Helpap said.

Depending on the legislation going through the courts, electing the Supreme Court justice and state superintendent could impact the UW System.

In terms of a direct impact, Helpap said it wouldn’t be likely because the court can’t make a decision unless a challenge relating to campus or the system is made. However, there could be some indirect impacts.

“When courts talk about voter ID, it will impact what students can show at the polls when they vote here on campus,” Helpap said. “When they talk about Act 10 again, it will dictate what the faculty and staff here can do, and it may dictate resources.”

While there tends to be less media coverage for these types of elections, Helpap said they are just as important as other ones. However, Helpap said last year’s supreme court race did grab more attention than previous years.

“The reason we saw that attention was because that race was seen as a referendum on Scott Walker and the legislature he was passing,” Helpap said.

Even with the negative attention the Prosser race received, Helpap still believes these are important elections.

“I’m not sure if the reason is that good behind it, but if people would realize the type of impact the Supreme Court had, rather than use it as a proxy for an elected official, I think it would be a good thing,” Helpap said.

Due to the fact that these elections are less publicized in the media, Mueller said he could see why the turnout was low.

“I would like to see more people there, but I guess I didn’t expect that many people,” Mueller said.