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UWO Rallies Against Budget Cuts

UW Oshkosh students and campus community members rallied outside Polk Library in the pedestrian mall Tuesday to voice their opinions and oppositions regarding the additional budget cuts proposed by the Department of Administration. The budget lapse is thought to have a possible effect on Oshkosh and the UW System as a whole by threatening layoffs, larger class sizes and eliminating student services such as tutoring. "The UW System is seeing 38 percent of the proposed cuts," Oshkosh Student Association speaker Jeci Casperson...

UWO rallies against budget cuts

By Laith Msaibeeh

msaibl17@uwosh.edu

Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2011 00:11

 

Original Post

UW Oshkosh students and campus community members rallied outside Polk Library in the pedestrian mall Tuesday to voice their opinions and oppositions regarding the additional budget cuts proposed by the Department of Administration.

The budget lapse is thought to have a possible effect on Oshkosh and the UW System as a whole by threatening layoffs, larger class sizes and eliminating student services such as tutoring.

"The UW System is seeing 38 percent of the proposed cuts," Oshkosh Student Association speaker Jeci Casperson said. "K-12 schools aren't seeing cuts, and neither are technical colleges or private schools."

Those who attended the rally were vocal about their displeasure at the unforeseen effects that the budget cuts will cause for the University.

"No one knows where this is going," Casperson said.

While Casperson spoke about the cuts the UW System could be seeing, she also said she was optimistic about the University's position.

"UW Oshkosh is lucky," Casperson said. "No one is getting laid off, at least not yet."

In addition to student speakers, the rally played host to Polk employee Paulette Feld.

"I think (the budget lapse) is wrong," Feld said. "[This is] dismantling the state from what we were."

According to a statement released by Chancellor Richard Wells, the University was prepared to cut an additional $1 million from its budget.

"Again, the budget lapse was no shock to us," Wells said in the statement. "However, what is startling and dismaying is the Department of Administration's expectation that UW System institutions defray 38 percent of the lapse when our Universities command only 7 percent of the state GPR revenue."

Rep. Gordon Hintz also spoke at the rally about the unfair burden the government is imposing on students and the University.

"Students should disagree with being the easy choice to brace [balancing] the budget," Hintz said. "Now is the time to stand up … [students deserve to] live in a state that believes in you."

Hintz also said there is a bigger picture ahead, and he is asking students to become engaged with the budget situation on campus.

"One hundred and eighty thousand students are impacted in [this state]," Hintz said. "Students are an easy target."

In addition to providing a platform for those in opposition to the cuts, the rally also gave passers-by a casual opportunity to learn about the possible effects that may befall the University.

Mike Pawlak, the membership director of the UW Oshkosh chapter of College Democrats, voiced his concern that too many students are unaware of the situation.

"A lot of students don't know what's going on," Pawlak said. "[They need to know] how this affects them."

Pawlak said he expects students will become more involved once they are fully informed of the issues at hand.

"As soon as students understand [the budget cuts] it will be hard [for them] not to be aggressive [in their opposition]," Pawlak said.

The rally outside of Polk was not the only campus event pertaining to the budget cuts.

Wells held two forums on Wednesday to address the issue, as well as to answer any questions or concerns raised by the campus community.

"Wisconsin's priorities are not with UW schools," Wells said. "[We are] dismayed and bewildered at the unfairness."

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