Sifting and Winnowing
The phrase "sifting and winnowing" refers to UW-Madison's historic tradition of defense of intellectual and academic freedom. The words are taken from an 1894 report of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and were originally used to explain the board's refusal to censure a professor accused of socialist and pro-union activity. The words are mounted on a plaque on the front of Bascom Hall:
WHATEVER MAY BE THE LIMITATIONS WHICH TRAMMEL INQUIRY ELSEWHERE, WE BELIEVE THAT THE GREAT STATE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SHOULD EVER ENCOURAGE THAT CONTINUAL AND FEARLESS SIFTING AND WINNOWING BY WHICH ALONE THE TRUTH CAN BE FOUND.