Press Release: UW Students to Mobilize in Response to Governor Walker’s Budget Bill

February 4, 2015                                                                                                                 Contact: Lamonté Moore

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                   Phone: (414) 520-0540


UW Students to Mobilize in Response to Governor Walker’s Budget Bill

Madison, WI-- In hopes of leveraging credibility for campaign funders, the Governor and presidential-hopeful has refused to listen to his current constituency, members of his own party, and simple logic. With a proposed $300 million cut to Wisconsin Public Higher Education, he has valued the primary economic driver of the state $800 million less than a new Milwaukee Bucks Stadium.

Dustin Beth, a full-time UW-Parkside student, elected official, business owner and member of the College Republicans expounded on UW’s value, "As someone who believes in small government and fiscal responsibility, I appreciate our Governor's efforts to spend the taxpayers' money wisely. However I think it would be more wise to find other areas in which to reduce spending given that prudent investment in education holds high returns for our state."

Today, the Governor attempted to bully forward his offer of more autonomy to the UW System in “exchange” for a $300 million cut. He did so by demonstrating his power and willingness to fundamentally alter public higher education. With his new edits, Walker has painfully stripped away the foundational mission of Wisconsin Public Higher Education - the Wisconsin Idea. Deliberately excluding the voices of students while proposing significant changes to the mission and operation of UW System is completely unacceptable.  Students must have a valued seat at the table to salvage the core principle of the Wisconsin Idea: “extend[ing] knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its educate people and improve the human condition”.

Tyler Ruprecht, a UW- Marathon County (two year college) student and President of their Student Government Association, brought to light the disproportionate impact of the cuts saying, “If the budget cut goes through the effects on our campus will be extreme. We WILL have to cut educational staff that is essential to the education of our students. This is not acceptable. The cut would damage the quality of education in this state at an unprecedented level. It makes you wonder if the state has forgotten the Wisconsin Idea.”

United Council President, Amanda McGovern, a UW-Stevens Point student emphasizes, “No matter what their life situation, a Wisconsin resident should have affordable access to public higher education. This divestment takes away the basic right to pursue an education. Students refuse Walker’s vision to convert the UW System into an unaffordable institution that is inaccessible to the community. We will mobilize against these efforts to maintain the future of UW.”

United Council Students have developed a multifaceted plan to work with all students, faculty, and administrators in amplifying the voices of students. Through semester-long civic engagement students will shift the statewide narrative in addressing these cuts and persuade the legislature to reinvest. This effort will culminate at the Legislative Action Conference in Madison, WI on February 20th-25th. There United Council will partner with multiple student and community organizations to train high school and college students on the life-long practice of civic engagement. UW Students are unwilling to remain silent and will continue to fight for truth and the improvement of the human condition through in higher education in the great state of Wisconsin!

 For more information and to register: 


Press Release

For Immediate Release                                                                                                 Lamonté Moore                  

January 28, 2015                                                                                                           Phone: (414) 520-0540                                                                                                           

Wisconsin is Closed for Education:

 Access & Affordability in an Era of Divestment

Madison, WI--In order to balance his 2.2 billion dollar deficit, yesterday Walker revealed his plan to cut Wisconsin’s public higher education institutions by $300 million - the same public higher education institutions that bolster Wisconsin’s economy by more than $15 billion annually. It goes without saying that the Governor’s divestment in the UW System is a grave divestment in Wisconsin as a whole.

Cuts this large in the upcoming biennium will leave universities across the system with no real foundation for the future - leaving faculty, students, and university programs without support. Governor Walker attempted to soften his attack on public higher education with the unfounded notion that this financial cut to the UW System is a reasonable exchange for more independence from state oversight. This “exchange” will feel more like a punishment to students, faculty and community members.

In light of past budget cuts and the Tuition Freeze, the UW System has compensated this divestment by leveraging reserve balances and by making cuts, mostly to academic department funding; ultimately diminishing the value of the UW degree. Moreover, the lurking danger of an underfunded UW System, without the present state cap of 5.5%, essentially results in a state-endorsed tuition hike in 2017 that will surely price out Wisconsin citizens from an affordable UW education.

Although UW System President Ray Cross has mixed feelings about the exchange, students have no mixed feelings on the matter and have denied Walker’s plan. Students do not stand alone in their dissent but are accompanied by both Republicans, like Senator Steve Nass, and Democrat legislators.

This senseless exchange denies that the UW System has been a driving economic force within Wisconsin for decades, and has been vital to the state economy. Instead, Wisconsin must continue to prioritize public higher education and thereby the success of its citizens. The 183,000 UW students need the Governor to invest in the UW System and recognize that we, the students, are the future stakeholders of Wisconsin’s economy. Wisconsin will not be open for business, if Wisconsin is also closed to maintaining access to public higher education.


Press Release: UW Students Respond to Apparent Public Higher Education Divestment in State of State

January 13, 2015                                                                   Contact: Lamonté Moore

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Phone: (414) 520-0540


UW Students Respond to Apparent Public Higher Education Divestment


Madison, WI: Today, in Governor Scott Walker’s State of the State address, the UW System, one of the primary economic drivers of the state, was not directly mentioned. In response, Lamonté Moore, United Council Senior Legislative Liaison, and former UW-Fond du Lac and UW-Milwaukee student, says that, “For this biennium it is imperative to reinvest in students to improve Wisconsin’s economic future. Prioritization of public higher education will provide opportunity for citizens to access education and have a more fulfilling life after graduation.”


United Council anticipates that the State Legislature will push for a large cut in the UW System budget, which would be devastating to the affordability and accessibility of public higher education in Wisconsin. Just last academic year, 41,000 students around the state--nearly the total enrolled student population at the UW flagship in Madison--were eligible for funding but were subsequently denied access to state financial aid due to lack of state funds (Fiscal Bureau).


UW students have responded with the following priorities:

  • Funding for UW, particularly to make up for the lack of funding revenue that would otherwise come from tuition, given that an additional tuition freeze is to be anticipated;

  • Support for Shared Governance ideals, a unique state-sanctioned communal forum for staff, faculty, and students to promote a culture of shared decision making;

  • Wisconsin Higher Ed. Grant, with crippling loan debt, the needs of UW students could easily be met with direct and minimal support from state funds;

  • Higher Ed., Lower Debt Bill, passing of this bill would liken the debt to home mortgages and give students better information before entering loan agreements.


Investment now in the UW System and its students is an investment in the economy of the state. Amanda McGovern, United Council President, an alumna of UW-Sheboygan and current student at UW-Stevens Point, states that, “Last year I was denied a grant due to lack of available state funds. I was told to simply get a summer job. But students need full and part-time employment each semester in order to afford the cost of college. Students are year-round taxpayers and stakeholders in the state budget process.”


In light of the over $1.2 trillion dollar student loan debt nationwide, United Council hopes that the Wisconsin state legislature is prepared to synchronize with the President’s new initiative for tuition-free two-year college opportunities.