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Editorial

UW-River Falls needs to protest budget cut proposal

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February 19, 2015

In the last two weeks, four UW System schools have held student-led rallies protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million UW System budget cut, and it’s time that UW-River Falls students, faculty and staff, as well as the rest of the UW System, follows suit.

UW-Eau Claire held a rally on Friday, Feb. 13, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members made their voice heard. The next afternoon, over 500 people rallied on the UW-Madison campus. Less than a week later, the UW-Whitewater College Democrats held a rally with over 125 people in attendance. UWMilwauke also held a rally on Feb. 4.

These rallies were peaceful and utterly important as the UW System attempts to get the $300 million proposal either thrown out or severly reduced. It’s only a matter of time before other UW System schools join in on the act, and the Student Voice believes this would be a wise choice. Undoubtedly, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of UWRF students that feel this $300 million budget cut is unwarranted and excessive.

Whether you’re a democrat or republican, it’s clear Walker doesn’t find the future of the UW System overly important. Some UW System schools will get hit harder than most. Whitewater will get hit the hardest with a projected 18.6 percent overall budget cut. Meanwhile, Eau Claire would lose $7.5 million, according to WQOW.com.

A lot of numbers are being thrown around, but it’s important to remember that Walker’s proposal is just that: a proposal. There is still room for negotiation and a possible end to the UW System tuition freeze, which isn’t currently helping matters. The current tuition freeze could mean a giant budget cut is in order. However, if each student at each UW System school could pitch in a few hundred bucks, then that might drop the $300 million to perhaps $100 million over two years.

The Wisconsin government needs to be reminded that UWRF and the rest of the UW System schools will not be defeated without a very vocal fight. It’s time the university takes an official stand against Walker’s cuts and the potential loss of dozens, if not hundreds, of faculty members and general education courses.

Other UW System schools have paved the way; now its our turn to take the streets and be heard. Students of all political parties need to stand strong on behalf of UWRF and the River Falls community, because the university is not the only entity that will feel the effects of the budget cuts, the city with lose residents, potential students, and eventually thousands of dollars.

If there is one positive thing that can be taken away from this unfortunate situation, it’s that UW System schools from all corners of the state and of all sizes are becoming united as one.