A “drafting error:” Governor Walker backs off removing “Wisconsin Idea” from UW System mission

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MADISON (WITI/AP) — Governor Scott Walker has abruptly backed off his proposal to eliminate the University of Wisconsin System's public service mission statement.

Walker tucked language into his budget proposal that would have replaced the statement, known as the "Wisconsin Idea," with the charge of meeting the state's workforce needs. The move drew the ire of UW System President Ray Cross, who says the Wisconsin Idea is the reason the system exists.

The Wisconsin Idea was created back in 1904.

In De Pere Wednesday, February 4th, Walker seemed to defend the changes, but as the day progressed, controversy arose. UW System President Ray Cross said: "Wisconsin must not abandon this core principle and value. We will work to preserve the Wisconsin Idea in every form."

Soon after, UW-Madison Chancellor Becky Blank sent out this message on Twitter: "The Wisconsin Idea is and always will be central to the mission of this university."

In Oconomowoc on Wednesday night, Walker backtracked -- later calling the changes a "drafting error" and promising the mission statement would include the Wisconsin Idea.

"That was language that they went through and looked at and somehow overlooked. For us, we have no problem putting that in," Governor Walker said.

Cross tweeted a "thank you" to Walker, as Walker tried to make things right.

"I have no problem with that being clarified that that`s in as a part of the mission even under an authority.  That`s kind of a non-issue," Walker said.

Walker made other stops across the state on Wednesday to tout his budget proposal.

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