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After announcing he would stay past term expiration, Walker appointee resigns from UW board

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After announcing he would stay past term expiration, Walker appointee resigns from UW board

Jun 04, 2024 | 12:00 pm ET
By Henry Redman
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After announcing he would stay past term expiration, Walker appointee resigns from UW board
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University of Wisconsin Madison by sk CC BY-ND 2.0

An appointee of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker resigned from the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents Monday, just days after he told UW officials that he’d be remaining on the body until the state Senate confirmed his replacement. 

In an email shared with WisPolitics, Robert Atwell said he “left room for people to assume” he would be staying indefinitely when he sent an email to UW System President Jay Rothman and board leadership saying that he would not be leaving his post. 

Atwell’s resignation will allow Gov. Tony Evers’ appointment to the board, Tim Nixon, to begin attending board meetings and voting. Atwell told WisPolitics that Nixon will “serve our universities exceptionally well.” 

Nixon can begin serving on the board for its meetings this week in Milwaukee, where the body will select a new president and vice president. 

This spring, Republican legislators created a Legislative Council study committee on the future of the UW System to assess its administrative needs, staffing and the demographic trends affecting it. In his resignation email, Atwell pointed to the study committee and his belief that the system needs to work with the Legislature. 

“There is not a high cost to foaming at the mouth about me, but vilifying the elected body that must approve your budget is kind of dumb,” Atwell wrote. “The UW system is in dire need of reform and a reset in our relationship with all the people of Wisconsin. It is not Tony Evers’ university any more than it was Scott Walker’s.”