MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Governor Scott Walker unveiled his two-year budget Tuesday evening, February 3rd at the Capitol in Madison -- and that budget proposal included slashing the UW System's budget by $300 million, freezing tuition for two years and decoupling the system from state oversight. He says he says the UW System will gain more autonomy and flexibility. It's a plan that's not being well-received on the UW-Milwaukee campus and on other UW System campuses.
Two demonstrations were planned Wednesday, February 4th on the UW-Milwaukee campus for students and staff to sound off on the proposal.
"We're here to draw attention to Governor Walker's proposal to cut $300 million from the UW System," UW-Milwaukee graduate teaching assistant and PhD student Chase Erwin said.
Erwin says he's not happy that cuts could be coming to the UW System.
"Governor Walker, in response to how the UW System is supposed to absorb these cuts, responded that professors simply need to teach more classes. I mean, this is going to compromise our research," Erwin said.
Lane Hall says as a professor, he's concerned about the impact Governor Walker's proposal could have on the UW-Milwaukee campus.
"This is no longer a state institution. It's hardly even a state-supported institution. The only way to get money in this kind of time-frame, is to either let people go, or to increase your class size," Hall said.
Maia Stack helped to organize the first of two demonstrations on the UW-Milwaukee campus Wednesday.
"I'm concerned for the future of the UW System, and I don't think that after a cut this big -- especially after the ones we've had the past few years as well, that I don't know if the University System could ever recover," Stack said.
After marching to UWM's Student Union, the group continued promoting its position. Nate Marshall was one of those showing his support for the Governor's plan.
"I believe he knows what he's doing. He knows how to finance businesses, schools, obviously the state because he's running for president," Marshall said.
A second demonstration was planned for 5:15 p.m., organized by the UW-Milwaukee College Democrats.
"I couldn't sit around and do nothing about these devastating proposed cuts," organizer Jill Hoffman said.
Meanwhile, the UW System Student Representatives have issued this statement:
Governor Walker announced a $300 million (or 13%) cut to the University of Wisconsin System’s state funding. This cut, combined previous budget cuts and reductions, has reduced UW System funding levels equal to that of the 1980s. The cuts and four year tuition freeze implemented by the Governor will force the UW System and all 26 campuses to consider employee layoffs, as well as a reduction in the programs offered at each respective campus. While the students of Wisconsin understand the necessity to reduce our state’s deficit and budget shortfall, a loss of funding would only hinder the efficiencies our campuses have attempted to implement since the last budget cut.
Now, we do concede that there are areas in which the UW System needs to improve. However, we believe these cuts would not address those areas accurately. Rather, the cuts would decimate the faculty members and others that do strive to make UW System the best university system in the country. For students, this would prove detrimental to all, for the loss of faculty and a reduction of programs can lead to a student’s extended stay in the UW System, thus increasing the cost-to-degree.
Therefore, with all of this considered, the students of Wisconsin oppose such a drastic cut to UW System funding.
- READ IT: In address to lawmakers at the Capitol, Governor Scott Walker unveils two-year budget plan
- UW-Milwaukee students to rally against Gov. Walker’s proposed UW System cuts
- “What’s going to get cut?” UWM chancellor, student body president concerned over funding cuts for UW System
- Gov. Walker proposes greater autonomy for University of Wisconsin System