Yet another voice — that of UW-Milwaukee student government — has joined the chaotic chorus surrounding Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget.
The Student Association at UWM (SA) recently revealed its stance against Walker’s potential 2015-2017 budget. On Tuesday, SA President Ryan Sorenson approved a resolution that officially states the UWM student body’s disapproval of the budget, which cuts 300 million dollars to state universities.
“It kind of shows that students are taken for granted,” said Sorenson regarding the budget.
SA Vice President Evan Braun drafted the document which offers that, while the budget may give universities more autonomy, it also threatens the existence of student governments.
According to Braun, autonomy may compromise an important statute. That statute secures students’ ability to organize and influence expenses unaffected by tuition freezes, otherwise known as segregated fees.
At present, student government shares control of segregated fees with the Board of Regents. Braun worries that, if the budget goes through, the Board of Regents won’t have to seek student government approval of segregated fees.
For Braun, it’s not just the money at stake, though. The resolution cites faculty layoffs, programming cuts, and compromised education as residual effects of the cuts.
Not everyone thinks a stand against the budget is necessary — at this point, at least. Tom Kelly is an SA senate member. He thinks the resolution was premature.
“You can set your ducks in a row in case ‘x’ or ‘y’ happens,” said Kelly. “But passing this resolution before these proposed cuts are finalized is arbitrary and a little bit ridiculous.”
If the budget succeeds, though, Kelly would like to see funding cuts to campus parking and student government salaries.
SA senate member Raphael Allen recognizes that some campus operations might be stream-lined with by autonomy that the proposed budget offers. Campus group could acquire new equipment, like BOSS vans, quicker and with less red tape. Still, to him, the good wouldn’t outweigh the bad.
Student government sent the resolution to a number of state lawmakers as well as the governor’s office. Neither Braun nor Sorensen expect a response from the governor, but still welcome one.
“Were more interested in the joint finance committee and state senators,” said Braun. “They have more power to edit it right now.”
State Rep. Mandela Barnes is among one of the policymakers that Braun welcomes help from. A number of protests took place against the proposed cuts in early February. The SA hosted one at which Barnes spoke.
Aside from the resolution, SA executives are contacting lawmakers making efforts to halt the budget by meeting with other public university student governments. In addition, members work with Chancellor Mone on a new budget task force.