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Evers Appointee Selected As UW Regents Board President

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Thomas W. Giles
UW System
UW System Regent Ed Manydeeds has been elected president of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents by a 10-8 margin in a rare contested race.

An appointee of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers was elected president of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents on Friday, defeating an appointee of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a rare contested race.

Regent Ed Manydeeds, an attorney from Eau Claire, beat Regent Michael M. Grebe, the current board vice president, in a 10-8 secret vote. Manydeeds is one of nine Evers appointees and Grebe is one of seven named to the board by Walker. The other two regents are the secretary of the state education department and president of the technical college system.

It was a rare power struggle on the board, marking the first contested election for president in nearly a decade. Only about one in 10 of the past 51 board president elections has been contested.

Some of Evers' appointees on the board said they feared the Republican-controlled state Senate may seek retribution by not confirming them if they did not vote for Grebe.

Manydeeds will serve a one-year term as president at a time when the board prepares to launch a search for a new UW System president.

Manydeeds will lead the regents at a time when the Legislature is preparing to lift a tuition cap that's been in place for eight years. The university also is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic that drove classes online and stressed UW's budget.

Several regents, speaking before the vote, said they were confident that whoever won would lead well and in a nonpartisan way.

“Every person at this table will support and work with our new president because that's who we are,” said Regent Karen Walsh, an Evers appointee.

Manydeeds was appointed to the board in 2019 by Evers. He previously served a term after being appointed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in 2010. He is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

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