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Gov. Scott Walker’s Higher Education Budget Ignites Backlash

Atop a steep hill on the University of Wisconsin campus is a granite boulder affixed with a bronze plaque honoring the university system’s lofty mission: to benefit the entire state by promoting public service and a search for truth.

Summed up in one phrase — “the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state” — the mission statement, known as the Wisconsin Idea, has been cherished by educators and graduates for a century. So when Gov. Scott Walker, a second-term Republican, presented a budget this month proposing to delete some of its most soaring passages, as well as to sharply cut state aid to the system, he ignited a furious backlash that crossed party and regional lines.