The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WCIJ) will keep their offices on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus thanks to Governor Scott Walker. Walker vetoed a provision in the state budget that would have evicted the Center from their offices and barred U.W. students and faculty from working with them. This last minute addition was slipped into the budget bill by an unnamed lawmaker in an early morning session. Andy Hall, executive director at WCIJ, joined the July 1st Buzz to explain the mission of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, their collaboration with the university and his opinions on the budget bill and veto.
The Center is a non-profit organization that offers internship opportunities for students so they can gain experience in the investigative journalism field. Their offices for these interns are housed on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus through a “facilities usage agreement”, which allows them to use space in Vilas Hall rent-free.
Andy Hall expressed the organization’s relief that this space, as well as the University-WCIJ collaboration, is no longer threatened. He also explained that the eviction within the bill was completely unexpected by the Center, and that the lawmaker who suggested the provision still hasn’t come forward to explain the reasoning. The message of the bill was not only condemned by nearly all lawmakers as petty and vindictive, but even raised questions of legality because only one non-profit organization was being targeted.
Listen to the entire interview with our host Tony Casteneda: