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Walker Returns To The Scene Of The Crime

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on August 28, 2010

For those of you who missed the significance of the location of Wednesday night’s debate between Scott Walker and Mark Neumann, let me remind the gentle reader that it was held at Marquette University.

Marquette University is, as the reader would remember, is the almost alma mater of Scott Walker, almost being the key word. Walker failed to graduate, leaving school entering his fourth year, even though he only had about three and a half years worth of credits.

At the time of that Walker’s non-graduate status came out, I stated that it was my opinion that the fact he failed to graduate was a minor issue, I pointed out that it seemed to me that the more significant issue was why didn’t he graduate.

I had repeatedly heard rumors that his departure was related to an election he entered to become student president. I had heard that he was being his usual negative self and was just being a generally unpleasant person. Because of this, and the fact that when the school paper refused to endorse him, he and his cronies snatched up as many copies of that issue of the paper as they could and destroyed them. Despite of, or maybe because of, his shenanigans, Walker had his butt handed to him in a 80-20 landslide, or so the story went. It was shortly after this that Walker left school.

The story said he left in disgrace and embarrassment due to his boorish behaviors and the massive routing.

A few days ago, a faithful reader forwarded an email to me that included this text:

Why did Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker leave Marquette University without graduating?

And was he punished for trying to rig an election in which he was a candidate for student government president?

The circumstances surrounding his departure from Marquette remain murky. The best information about what happened may be in his student records.

At the end of the 1988 or 1989 school year, Walker was a candidate for student government president.

Walker and a few people who were at the University likely know the full story. University records about students are generally confidential. However, Walker could ask the University to make those records public.

A little-noticed allegation raised publicly about Walker about a year-and-a-half ago may be old news. What makes the allegation unusual is that the person who made it revealed his name. Anonymous allegations, especially about political candidates, are generally considered less reliable.

What makes the allegation more unusual is that the name of the person matches that of a person associated with Marquette.

Steven Blackwood confirms that he has written about Walker’s time at Marquette. However, Blackwood says he knows nothing about the reasons that Walker left without graduating.

On January 8, 2009 on Milwaukee Rising carried a posting from Blackwood.
Part of the posting is:

“He’s a great smoozer.

“Pretty good for a guy who ran for student government President at Marquette University in 1988, losing because, angry at not being endorsed by the Marquette Tribune (the paper liked both candidates), he had his cronies go around and seize piles of the paper and toss the,. (typo) Subsequently, the paper endorsed his opponent. Side note: Scotty never did graduate.”

The comments do not say if Walker was expelled or punished in any way. They also did not indicate if others were punished.

Blackwood works at the MU Raynor Memorial Libraries, according to a University website. A search of several websites shows a Steven Blackwood of Milwaukee has donated $1,100 to presidential candidates. However, nothing indicates any donations to any candidates for governor by a person with the same name.

Is this an old allegation that has been discredited? If so, it should not reflect on Walker’s qualifications.

Walker can authorize the release of his student records. Will he?

Walker’s campaign has not replied to a request for comment.

Being an email that appeared to be circulated, I was skeptical of its veracity. However, I did manage to find said comment, which can be found here and reads thus:

It is unfortunate that Walker’s opponent from the last election, Lena Taylor, actually a normally savvy woman, hadn’t run such a lackluster campaign. Another part of the problem is that Walker, early on, found the value of constantly appearing in the media over the years whether he knew anything or not (often not). He’s a great smoozer.

Pretty good for a guy who ran for student government President at Marquette University in 1988, losing because, angry at not being endorsed by the Marquette Tribune (the paper liked both candidates), he had his cronies go around and seize piles of the paper and toss the,. Subsequently, the paper endorsed his opponent. Side note: Scotty never did graduate.

And yes, there is a Steven Blackwood at Marquette University, and who appears to be active in politics, at least in donations. Now, not being a conservative blogger, I don’t have the luxury of being able to do phone calls or open record requests during the work day, so I have not been able to confirm that these are all the same person. But there is, I believe, enough circumstantial evidence to make it considered plausible.

To further increase suspicions, the Democrats had also been doing their homework. They sent out this press release, including this tidbit:

In February, 1988, Walker admitted violating Marquette campaign rules during his run for student government president and the Marquette Tribune deemed him “unfit” for office after finding Walker’s campaign guilty of “mudslinging,” and after reports that his campaign was throwing out copies of the paper that contained information damaging to Walker.

Walker left the university not long afterward.

Mmm, trying to stifle a voice that was critical of him. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

(By the way, here is the flier that the Dems were distributing at the debate.)

The fact that Walker has refused to release his transcripts, along with this information, raises questions if Walker left school on his own volition, as he claims, or if there was another reason.

Walker should just come clean and release his transcripts. It would be better to be honest about a poor decision than to have it come out this way or leave room for further speculation. But then again, that kind of integrity just doesn’t seem to be in Walker’s character.

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