Thumbs down to Evansville school officials skipping forum. A police officer showed up. Parents showed up. But school officials didn't attend a forum organized by a parent concerned about sexual misconduct and student safety at Evansville High School. Instead, they released a vague statement about how they would "continue to follow all policies and procedures" regarding harassment complaints. Their decision to stay home only added credibility to concerns about poor communication between parents and school officials. Had officials attended the meeting, they could have spoken in general terms about these policies and procedures. They could have emphasized the importance of protecting the privacy of students amid ongoing investigations. The officials missed an opportunity.
Thumbs down to Beverly Kopper's mysterious paid leave. Once again the former UW-Whitewater chancellor is on paid leave, and once again questions swirl around the circumstances. The university's desire to protect Kopper's privacy has done little to instill public confidence in the handling of this controversy. Kopper resigned from her position last year while facing scrutiny about her lack of candidness regarding sexual harassment allegations against her husband, Alan "Pete" Hill. She went on paid leave, earning her chancellor salary of $242,760 until the end of August. Her plan was to teach as a tenured psychology professor, earning $118,308. But now she's not teaching. A university spokesperson declined to comment on her paid leave because it's "personnel matter." It's also a taxpayer matter.
Thumbs up to leaving alone the public comment period. Some Janesville City Council members keep wanting to meddle with the format of the public comment period, and they considered the issue at a study session last week. Fortunately, efforts to place new restrictions on the comment period fizzled, despite some concerns about comments having nothing to do with council business. Some members want to limit the comment period to only those topics on the meeting agenda. Limiting the comment period might make meetings run more smoothly, but efficiency shouldn't be the city council's goal. Transparency should be the goal, and the current setup is transparent.
Thumbs up to liquor license recommendation for movie theaters. Wildwood Theatres Movies 16 could become the first (and maybe only) movie theater in Janesville to sell liquor under a recommendation adopted by Janesville's Alcohol License Advisory Committee. It recommended lifting a ban on alcohol sales at theaters, and the decision is about five to 10 years behind neighboring communities where theaters already sell liquor. The city council shouldn't hesitate to approve the recommendation, and we encourage the theater to ignore the critics on social media who feel the world is about to end over the policy change. Drunken driving is a problem in Janesville, but drunken drivers will find a way to make poor choices regardless of whether Wildwood gets a liquor license.