You are the owner of this article.
top story

Chancellor Joe Gow boasts of UW-L successes at regents meeting; closed session includes considering discipline or termination of 'a chancellor'

  • 8
  • 2 min to read
Try 3 months for $3
UW Board of Regents

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow addresses the UW System Board of Regents during its meeting Thursday at UW-La Crosse.

Chancellor Joe Gow touted record enrollment, increased diversity and a brand-new science center Thursday as the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents visited UW-La Crosse for the first time in five years.

Addressing the board and a crowd of dozens at the Student Union, Gow traced the university’s history from its founding as a normal school to the present day. As higher education has changed, he said, so has UW-La Crosse.

Despite declining enrollment across the state and the nation, UW-La Crosse welcomed a record 10,569 students to its campus this fall — a testament to strong programming and quality staff, Gow said. This year’s freshman class is also more diverse than previous years’ — 10.5 percent are students of color.

UW Board of Regents

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow greets UW System President Ray Cross before the Board of Regents meeting Thursday at UW-La Crosse.

September also marked the opening of the Prairie Springs Science Center, an $82 million facility with 23 research labs, 36 instructional labs and some of the most advanced technology found in the UW System.

“We’re very grateful for the support from the regents and the state that made that happen,” said Gow, stressing the importance of the project’s second phase, which would bring new classrooms and faculty offices. The regents approved the project in August, and it now goes to state lawmakers.

“We’re hoping for the best on that,” Gow said. “It’s vitally important to the future of our university.”

Thursday’s meeting played out before an ominous backdrop, a week after it was first reported that Gow had been formally reprimanded by his boss, UW System President Ray Cross.

In a letter dated Nov. 6, Cross scolded Gow for booking porn star Nina Hartley as a guest lecturer, and for failing to tell Madison officials of his decision.

UW Board of Regents

The UW System Board of Regents holds their meeting in at teh UW-La Crosse campus.

Then came the agenda for Thursday’s board meeting, which listed “consider taking a personnel action to discipline or terminate a chancellor” under business planned for a closed session.

It was not clear whether the agenda item referred to Gow or to another chancellor.

Faculty at UW-Stevens Point have recently called for the removal of Chancellor Bernie Patterson, citing mismanagement.

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper has also been under scrutiny, after allegations that her husband sexually harassed a Whitewater Common Council member while she was a student there.

Regents deliberated behind closed doors for nearly three hours. They broke for the day without reopening the meeting to the public, indicating that no formal action will be taken on the matter or that such action had been postponed till Friday.


Kyle Farris covers education for the La Crosse Tribune. Reach him at (608) 791-8234 or

(8) comments


Did they discuss the practice of having current students vote for increased student fees that are only applicable to incoming students? I would like to know how they address this in the ethics classes.


Cross should be replaced. He is narrow minded. He is stuck in the 60's.


Wow, that audit of the Chancellor's Discretionary Fund that Cross said would be coming didn't take long. Someone always has the receipts.


Kudos to Chancellor Gow for the job he's done with UW-La Crosse. The numbers speak volumes especially when comparing them to the rest of the schools in the UW System. Bringing in Nina Hartley in to speak on sexual diversity is exactly the type of forward thinking great leaders need to have. Leaders are trailblazer and visionaries, they are not "yes people." With all the negative backlash on Ms. Hartley's speaking at UW-La Crosse, is there any wonder why Chancellor Gow had to book her engagement on the down low? Because it would have been denied by the Board of Reagents inability to conceptualize that diversity goes well beyond being a person of color, someone with a disability or someone's physical sexual preference. How much discrimination exists because of someones's ideology? It's probably greater than the sum of all physical discrimination. To me that's like saying, "I have no problem with gay people or black people, as long as they think like me."


bummer on the typo... it's regents not reagents. Another reason for a strong education. Just because spell check says it's okay, doesn't make it right.


Yeah, nothing says "forward thinking visionary" quite like bringing a p-orn star in as an expert on healthy human sexuality. I guess to the Joe Gow fanboys and fangirls (apparently a few still remain) anything their hero does is more evidence of his visionary leadership. Hey, here's an idea: print up some Joe Gow t-shirts and sell them to pay for weekly "visionary speeches" by speakers chosen by Gow !


Obviously, it's the Stevens Point chancellor and his court of fools that needs to be terminated.

union conservative

Typical media rumor spreading! Why jump to conclusion without finding the exact information? While I did not like the decision of having the speaker I do not condone media making the guys life any harder than it is already. Find some real news, would you.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe or log in to continue.