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


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.

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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  • by Eau Really Location: Former EC on Dec 20, 2011 at 09:21 AM
    The ability for people to find the negative never ceases to amaze. This is just the State's response to the recent situations regarding abuse and cover-ups at Penn St., Syracuse, Marquette, etc. It just gives investigators another tool to work with. I don't know how anyone could be against that. The one thing in the story I find minorly troubling is the people who said "we already have that in place", etc. That's probably what the people at those places thought.
  • by John Location: New Auburn on Dec 20, 2011 at 06:58 AM
    So I don't like my neighbor. Report him for child abuse! That is what the Germans did under Hitler. Make it a Police State!
    • reply
      by Eau Really on Dec 20, 2011 at 08:59 AM in reply to John
      Only a complete idiot would do that, so feel free I guess. If your neighbor isn't doing anything, it will be proven out and you will look like a fool.
  • by Tom on Dec 20, 2011 at 05:50 AM
    I see fear in the anti-Walker people when they refuse to acknowledge anything he does as being good, regardless of the situation. They are afraid to accept, regardless of your views, that he has done some good things for the state. This simply points out how one sided, self centered, and narrow minded the anti-Walker people have become- their negativity centers around the union issue and nothing else. I voted for Walker. Do I agree with every move he makes? Not at all, but I support that his intentions are good for the people. I didn't vote for Obama. Do I criticize his evey move as being wrong? Not at all. I may not agree with everything he does, though I do appreciate some of his moves and accept him as our elected President and feel he believes he is doing what's right for the country. it is sad to see the anger tht consumes people.
  • by Judie Location: Eau Claire on Dec 19, 2011 at 09:58 PM
    Walker has just done something that has nothing to do with politics but with trying to get people to be more responsible in reporting abuses. It is amazing how some people can still twist things around and will not give him one bit of credit. Instead of fighting this man every step of the way, try working with him to solve some of our states problems. You may not agree with everything he says or does, but be decent and give him credit when he does something that will benefit the children and adults who are at the mercy of abusing adults. There is never going to be a fail safe law that protects everyone, but this is a step in the right direction. We all need to keep our ears and eyes open to what goes on around us and be humane enough to make sure we do the right thing if we see or hear something that that we know is not right. Cut out the politics because abuse is not a political thing, it is a human thing.
    • reply
      by Anon on Dec 20, 2011 at 05:28 AM in reply to Judie
      I am in favor of the law, but work with Walker? You mean like he worked with public employees in the past? Read the news and see what's coming out of Madison. Walker doesn't work with anyone.
  • by Realist Location: Eau Claire on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:10 PM
    snott walker is the worst abuser - destroying public education. it's time for recall!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2011 at 05:40 AM in reply to Realist
      How sad. Do you have nothing intelligent to say? All this negativity you harbor must make the holidays difficult at your house.
    • reply
      by un-realist on Dec 20, 2011 at 06:43 AM in reply to Realist
      Without any facts to back up you theory you are the abuser!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2011 at 04:39 AM in reply to un-realist
        Without any facts to back up you theory you are the abuser! Fun!?!
  • by Protecting state workers on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:06 PM
    This law protects state workers who want to do the right thing, but might be worried about a lawsuit for reporting suspected abuse. Reporting child abuse is now a matter of following the procedure manual rather than making the call on your own.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 20, 2011 at 08:13 AM in reply to Protecting state workers
      Because all reporters can stay anonymous and the person who is doing the abusing will never know who reported him. Even if that wasn't the case I would rather have someone try to open a law suit against me than see a child get abused. See how far that goes in the court system, Not very Far. That's what's wrong with people today, they are to afraid to help out a neighbor or even a child who is getting abused because they are afraid. Stand up for whats right. Gov. Walker is doing nothing but making it mandatory to do so. Forbid the state employee to have "more responsibility" placed on them with such cuts they received in healthcare and retirement. Be thankful you have a job and healthcare. I know a lot of hard working folks who work 12 hours a day without healthcare or retirement.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 19, 2011 at 08:18 AM
    Requiring to report is a good thing, however, the "screening Committee" can decide in an instant whether to pursue or dismiss any report. This is where the help is needed. Whether required to or reporting suspicions in good faith, it takes alot of courage to make that initial call, only to have it blown off because the supervisor says so. Epic fail on their part for not following up on all reports.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 19, 2011 at 09:48 AM in reply to
      I couldn't agree more. The abuse suffered by children at the hands of adults continues, no matter what the mandate for reporting because there is an insufficient number of people screening. They look at what they think are the "worst" cases. What most people would consider horrific abuse or neglect is many times put on the back burner because of the overwhelming number of "worse" cases. With this new mandate will only come a bigger backlog unless Walker can find a way to increase the number of staff who investigates the reports. Chances are he'll give more money to big business and let the kids in Wisconsin suffer even more.
      • reply
        by This Is Good on Dec 19, 2011 at 05:29 PM in reply to
        Methinks thou protesteth too much. This is a great proactive law for Wisconsin, especially considering the recent news of a high profile university official at a big name university who is charged (not convicted) of something so despicable. By you attempting to turn this into a political situation, you have destroyed any credibility you may have had whatsoever. GOOGLE my first line and see what that phrase means because I am quite sure you have no clue about that whatsoever either.
      • reply
        by Anonymous 2 on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:08 PM in reply to
        Giving to big business is no worse then teachers giving to the big money unions and forgeting about its all about the kids like you claim.
      • reply
        by Diane on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:24 PM in reply to
        To Anonymous, Boy, your some piece of work. Seems everything Walker does is wrong. Think you could do better? dah, don't think so.
      • reply
        by Nickphd on Dec 19, 2011 at 08:05 PM in reply to
        Way to get your Walker hate in there!
  • by Steve-o on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:25 AM
    How dare he..........
    • reply
      by EC Resident on Dec 19, 2011 at 08:58 AM in reply to Steve-o
      I think they also need to address the issue of calling Police. Contact the Police yourself first and then contact your supervisors. If it's done that way a "cover up" wont be possible. That's how the laws and policies need to be written.
      • reply
        by thorp on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:18 PM in reply to EC Resident
        I totally agree with you in regards to contacting police first and then supervisors.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Dec 19, 2011 at 07:58 PM in reply to EC Resident
        This is a great idea until someone misunderstands a situation and good parents (or other adults) are wrongfully accused of abuse. This creates many problems itself. The point going to a supervisor is to minimize these wrongful accusations, which can ruin the life of an individual or family, especially in small towns when everyone else knows what is happening before you do.
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