New Information: How Walker's executive order affects UW-Eau Claire

By: Amelia Cerling & WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: Amelia Cerling & WEAU 13 News Staff Email

Update:

EAU CLAIRE (WEAU) -- We visited UW-Eau Claire Monday to find out how Governor Walker’s executive order will change policies on campus

University employees say the executive order means different things for different people. If you already work with kids on a regular basis at the university, the order doesn't do much.

To the director at UW-Eau Claire’s Children's Center, not doing everything you can to protect these little ones from abuse is unthinkable; but unfortunately Becky Wurzer says sometimes it takes a law for people to do the right thing.

“I guess I can't understand how there could be that many people that did not report it. I didn't know we needed to have a law to do what's right and have people step in but if it takes a law then we need it,” Wurzer says.

Wurzer says all teachers or child care providers at the center are mandatory reporters of any abuse or neglect. And if they fail to do so they could face large fines or even jail time. It means that they were already doing, what Governor Walker's executive order asks of them.

“I don't think it's going to impact us but it will other people on campus who work with children, there are a lot of programs in the summer that work with young children,” she explains.

For instance Blugold Beginnings, a university program that works with kids from elementary all the way through high school. Program coordinator Shelly Voegeli says all mentors are trained to look out for abuse, and adds that reporting anything suspicious is already expected.

“We pretty much have everything in place and we're doing everything that we need to be doing as to what the protocol would be so that's something that we've always done,” Voegeli says.

Teresa O'Halloran, special assistant to the chancellor tells us Walker's order clarifies for University employees that anyone who sees or suspects abuse anywhere on campus must report it to authorities, regardless of whether you work with children on a regular basis or not.

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign an executive order that will require more state and university employees to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

The governor has called a press conference for Monday morning in Milwaukee. He'll be joined by the University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly and UW -Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell, among others.

There are already mandatory reporting requirements for many state employees. The executive order is expected to expand the requirements to cover more workers, particularly within the UW System.

The move comes during the ongoing turmoil at Penn State. Top officials there are accused of failing to report child-abuse allegations against a former assistant football coach. The university president and football coach have lost their jobs.


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