Community Forum Highlights Concerns About Proposed UW Funding Cuts
By Ryan Burk, WSAW-TV (Channel 7)
If proposed budget cuts to the UW System are approved, UW Stevens Point could lose up to $6.4 million dollars a year in state funding. It is something that has concerned many students, staff, and community members connected to the university.
Thursday, citizens had an opportunity to voice their concerns to local legislators. Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa and Representative Katrina Shankland were in attendance during an open community forum sponsored by UWSP's Student Government Association.
Many UWSP faculty members took part in Thursday's forum, many of whom worry that the budget cuts could lead to layoffs or the elimination of some majors.
"These are cuts that are not going to be easily absorbed. These are significant cuts." says UWSP Political Science Professor Jennifer Collins.
Collins says she is particularly concerned that additional cuts to the university budget could extend a hiring freeze in her department.
"We have a position in our department that was open and now we have been told we will not be able to fill that position. We are a small department, that's just one" Collins says.
While many students at Thursday's forum spoke out about what the proposed cuts could mean for student programs and tuition, others say it comes down to how much the state recognizes the UW systems value.
"I'm thinking about moving to another state because I don't want to raise a family in a state that doesn't value higher education. I don't want to live in a state where I would have to pay thousands of dollars in student loan debt for my children and grandchildren. " says UWSP Senior Matthew Rosner.
UWSP Student Government is scheduled to host a student forum on the proposed budget cuts next week. It will take place on Feb. 23rd at 6pm in the Dreyfus University Center.