UW-Madison Blacked Out Admissions Criteria in Response to GOP Legislator’s Concerns

Wisconsin Right Now & The Center Square

UW-Madison blacked out lengthy sections of its admissions criteria in response to an open records request from a Republican legislator who is now trying to change state law to mandate that the flagship university admit Wisconsin students in the top 5% of their classes.

UW-Madison’s freshman class was 8,628 students back in September of last year. The UW’s own numbers show that about 45% of that class is from Wisconsin; the rest are from other states or other countries. Sixty percent of Wisconsin freshman applicants who applied to UW-Madison last fall were accepted.

On Thursday, in the wake of the United States Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action in university admissions at two prominent schools, Wisconsin Right Now obtained the blacked out documents that were sent to state Rep. David Murphy in September 2021. In the wake of the Court decision, UW-Madison admitted, “We have considered the race of applicants as one factor in a holistic admissions process that focuses first and foremost on candidates’ academic strength.”

UW-Madison told Murphy it redacted the documents to protect “trade secrets” and because “release of such information would harm the public’s interest.” The university was also concerned that employees could face “reprisal” if their names were released.