University of Wisconsin student government threatens lawsuit over access to professor evaluations

Members of the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s student government say they plan to sue the school for access to professor evaluations.

The Associated Students of Madison regularly publishes a compilation of professor evaluations for students, but it can only publish the evaluations that each department provides. The university does not compile or publish the information, and each department is responsible for making the evaluations public. Many departments, however, have not made the evaluations available to ASM, although ASM believes the state’s open-records act requires the evaluations to be publicly available.

“We’ve only received about 60 percent of the evaluations we’ve requested,” student Mike Dean, chair of ASM’s Student Council said in mid-February.

ASM has regularly requested the evaluations from the university since 1996 and usually receives less than half of them, according to Dean. The student government filed a request last October and has sent three other requests for the information since then to the university.

ASM is currently searching for an attorney who will work on a pro bono basis.

The UW Chancellor’s Office did not return numerous phone calls made by reporters for the Student Press Law Center.