By Joe Bachman, Stevens Point News
MADISON – On Wednesday, Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) joined UWSP students, as she spoke at the “Reclaim the UW” rally, which was organized by students to protest the proposed program cuts at UW-Stevens Point and demand more state funding for the UW System.
Pointer student Olivia De Valk was on hand for the rally to represent Stevens Point.
“Today’s rally brought UW Campuses together to demand change. Our schools need adequate funding to provide diverse educational opportunities,” said De Valk. “Our students deserve a great affordable education because education is a public good. Everyone benefits from well educated citizens.”
In her speech, Rep. Shankland made the following remarks:
“Access to higher education is key to the American Dream. It’s not just about finding a job, it’s not just about earning more over a lifetime, it’s about being exposed to new ideas and new people, and learning how to think instead of what to think. It’s about challenging yourself and joining the future leaders and innovators in our state.
“For years, my colleagues in the majority party have slashed and burned the university, taking over half a billion dollars in state aid away while throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into unaccountable private voucher schools. These people have plundered the public good like pirates, raiding our public schools so they can pour more money into tax breaks for millionaires. These marauders starved our colleges and universities while they funneled $3 billion in cash to a foreign company.
“When will students get their piece of the pie? Student leadership has exemplified the strength of Wisconsin, of what it takes to get through a tough winter. I have faith that spring is around the corner. Students are standing up – not just for the Wisconsin Idea, but for the American Dream.
“It’s time to demand that our elected officials invest in the UW System. They can start by forming a Blue Ribbon Commission on higher education to analyze demographics and find new, sustainable ways to fund our universities. And most importantly, they can make sure that everyone in Wisconsin who wants to work hard and get a degree has that opportunity. We need action, not words. It’s past time to reclaim the UW.”