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 campuses...to 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: http://unitedcouncilofuw.org/calendar-events/