All across Wisconsin, the world-class UW System is being forced to cut budgets, eliminate graduate programs, and reduce staff as a result of Scott Walker's draconian cuts to higher education.
The Marshfield News Herald is reporting that the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County will have to eliminate a number of positions, including it's long-serving library director with more than 20 years of experience on campus. UW-Marshfield/Wood County Dean Patricia Stuhr blames declining state support for the tough decisions ahead, saying, “This is how the fallout (from state lawmakers’ decisions) comes locally.".
Following four years of budget cuts from Scott Walker and his rubber-stamp legislature, the entire UW System must reduce its budget by approximately $62 million this year, and the state's 14 two-year campuses are forced to cut about $2.3 million.
Aaron Brower, interim chancellor for the University of Wisconsin Colleges, made it clear to the Marshfield News Herald how those cuts impact at the local level, “In some sense, the reality is not just tightening belts, but literally cut into course offerings and do layoffs. That’s the reason this was so apparent this time.”
Stuhr also noted the recent loss of two tenured professors, citing stagnant, non-competitive wages and Scott Walker's attack on collective bargaining rights as likely factors.
“When you haven’t had a raise in seven years, and then only a 1 percent raise, it doesn’t make up for much, especially when retirement and health insurance went up,” Stuhr said.
Faculty members may very well have been making less than they were when they started, she said.
Universities and colleges all over the state face the same reality. The Associated Press is reporting that the University of Wisconsin-Superior is cutting 11 of it's 25 graduate programs in response to declining state support.
Wisconsin's world-class educational system has always been a catalyst for economic activity and cutting edge research. Walker's nearsighted decisions undercut the legacy, handcuffing our colleges and universities from offering top-notch education and services to the state, and perpetuating the "brain-drain" that has seen our best and brightest educators and graduates abandon Wisconsin in search of greener pastures. Educational opportunity has long been the road to the middle class, but Scott Walker's extreme agenda makes it a hard road to travel. His policies only make it harder to move up and get ahead.