It was just in December that Wisconsin Sen. Steve Nass threw a snit about a UW-Madison course titled “The Problem with Whiteness.” Nass was barely revived when he discovered that not only does “whiteness” have aspects open to critical thought, so does “masculinity.”
The Associated Press reports that Sen. Nass has a real ax to grind with UW-Madison, and sent an email to other Wisconsin lawmakers with the subject line, “UW-Madison Declares War on Men and their Masculinity — Not a Joke,” on Wednesday. When someone writes “not a joke” I actually really expect it to be a joke, but the body of the email makes it clear that Nass takes himself all too seriously:
“Our friends at UW-Madison, not happy enough with labeling ‘whiteness’ as a societal problem, now are attacking another social ill ..., Men and their masculinity,” the email says.
“The supposedly underfunded and overworked administrators at our flagship campus have scrapped (sic) together enough dollars to offer a six-week program open only to ‘men-identified students,” the email goes on. “In short, the highly paid leaders at UW-Madison now believe that Wisconsin mothers and fathers have done a poor job of raising their boys by trying to instill in them the values and characteristics necessary in becoming a Man.”
Nass is referring to a workshop hosted by the Men’s Project, a six week course open to 30 male-identifying undergraduate and graduate students that involves discussion around issues of masculinity in culture and practice, plus a sweet retreat. John Lucas, a spokesman for UW-Madison, declined to comment on Nass’s histrionic accusations, but told the AP that the program is “designed to address common issues of college life” and points out that there are similar courses offered in schools across the country.
Nass previously pressured legislators to cut the UW System budget if “The Problem with Whiteness” were not dropped form course listings. He was unsuccessful, but doesn’t appear to have tired of using obtuse anger as a tactic. Governor Scott Walker has said in the past that funding will most likely be tied to the school’s performance benchmarks, but Republicans did manage to cut $250 million in state funding and freeze tuition for two more years.