Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, reportedly withdrew the appointment of an engineering student from the University of Wisconsin System’s Board of Regents after learning that the sophomore signed a 2011 petition to recall him.
Joshua Inglett, 18, said when one of Walker’s aides asked him Wednesday if he signed the recall petition, he admitted that he had. Hours later, another aide left Inglett a voicemail telling him he would not be getting the two-year appointment.
"I felt like my character had been attacked," Inglett told the Journal Sentinel.
"They had four months to look this up and Google search me," he said. "I looked it up online yesterday. It took me 15 seconds."
Walker would not give a reason for rejecting Inglett.
"We've got plenty of other good candidates and we're not going to get into specifics about it," Walker said. "We've made a decision to withdraw the name in our office and we'll be submitting another name to the Board of Regents."
He claims he was not directly involved in the process of selecting an appointee.
When asked if he routinely crosschecked the petition signatures and potential appointees, he said, "I don't do anything in that regard."
Inglett, whose mother was a teacher, remembers hard times growing up. He said the reason he signed the recall petition was in support of his mother. It was something he did on a whim as he exited a department store and barely even remembered it.
"He should have been honest and said, 'I signed the recall petition and I'm proud of it' or 'I signed it and I made a mistake,'" said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester. "This is not like you're serving on some minor board."
Vos served as regent under Gov. Tommy Thompson.
Thursday, however, Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, sent a letter to the governor asking him to rethink his decision to reject Inglett.
"It makes it sound like the governor is keeping a blacklist in his office," Erpenbach said at a news conference. "It's McCarthyism. No governor should have the litmus test [of] 'did you sign or didn't you sign?'"
"If the governor wants to show he's being partisan, at least do your research before you appoint the kid," said Annelise Roti Roti, a UW-Platteville engineering student who just finished her freshman year. "It's bad politics. The student regent is meant to be a simple representative of students on the board. I don't think it should be a partisan decision."
Walker said critics are wrong about the decision being retaliatory.
"They would be ignoring the reality of what the situation's been, which is that we've appointed people from all types of political and ideological persuasions in the past," he said.
Chancellor of UW-Platteville Dennis Shields defended Inglett.
"This is a fine young man and it was an honor to be considered and get to this point," Shields said Thursday. "Nothing that has happened to date would cause me to think less highly of him. Joshua is someone we are extraordinarily proud of, a great student majoring in a difficult major and achieving at a high level."