July 23rd, 2015
Sara Goldrick-Rab is a tenured professor of sociology and education policy
at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is an outspoken public
scholar with a prolific social media presence, and she is devastated
about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent changes
to tenure and shared faculty governance at her place of employ. For
several months, as Walker’s agenda has turned from talking points to reality, Goldrick-Rab’s Twitter feed has become a juggernaut of links to news articles, document explication, and 140-character cannon fire. Her most controversial tweet compares the psychological profiles of Walker and Adolf Hitler. She has put into very public practice the exercise of the exact academic freedom whose death she foretells. And she can, because she has tenure—for now.
Her activism took a personal turn in June, when she grew tired of her
institution’s silence about the negative effects of Walker’s plan, such
as a probable faculty exodus. She jumped into #FutureBadgers, a hashtag
for incoming University of Wisconsin freshmen, and tweeted a few links
to recent news stories about changes to the university.