Rep. Wachs Calls for Hearings on UW System Cuts
"We simply cannot sustain the continued attack on higher education in Wisconsin."
MADISON- Following the recent release of budget summaries from UW System universities, two-year colleges, and UW Extension, Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), called for public hearings to be held at each campus throughout the state that has been affected by the $250 million cut to UW System funding in the 2015-2017 state budget. As the ranking Democratic member on the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, Wachs remarked on the findings in these summaries, which were prepared by each campus to highlight how the cuts have affected faculty retention, instructional opportunities, and the overall quality of the educational experience at each institution.
“The information prepared by these schools is quite startling and frankly appalling,” said Wachs. “The Republican cuts to the UW System have forced each institution to make difficult and in many cases devastating decisions. Quality faculty have lost their jobs or have taken early retirement options, students are given fewer class opportunities, and programs that are vital to the needs of Wisconsin are being decimated. In time we will see fewer students interested in attending these schools, and quality faculty will continue to look elsewhere for jobs. I call on the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities and the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges to hold joint hearings at these campuses so we can see and hear first-hand how the decisions made in the budget are hurting higher education in Wisconsin.”
This call for public hearings comes one day after the annual “Posters in the Rotunda” event which was held in the State Capitol. Student researchers and faculty from the UW System presented research on a number of topics to legislators and other visitors to the Capitol. Rep. Wachs was able to meet with a number of UW-Eau Claire students and faculty, and was very impressed with the work that was presented.
“I really enjoyed meeting with these students and learning about the work that they are doing,” added Wachs. “They represent the future of research, development, and economic growth in our state. The ‘Posters in the Rotunda’ event was another reminder of the great institutions of higher education that we have in our state. Frankly, we should be investing more in them instead of cutting funding from them. We simply cannot sustain the continued attack on higher education in Wisconsin. I truly hope that we can hold hearings throughout the state, and with the knowledge gained from these campuses I hope that we invest in higher education in Wisconsin instead of continuing to harm our once proud reputation as a leader.”
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This legislation uses draconian sanctions to try to strong-arm students into staying silent.