UW-Madison students, parents and workers joined at Library Mall Wednesday and marched to the Capitol to protest budget cuts and tuition hikes.
Approximately 100 protestors participated in the rally to encourage activists to celebrate May Day. Groups such as the Student Labor Action Coalition and the International Socialist Organization led the event.
UW freshman Chris Dols, a member of the ISO, said students should feel free to let the state government know how they feel about the cuts and the tuition hike.
“As students, the budget affects our tuition,” he said. “A nine percent instate tuition raise, 23 percent out-of-state tuition raise–it hits home. This is one thing that affects all the students.”
Madison resident Jenny Marquess said she attended the rally for personal reasons and said strength in numbers is the only way for residents to get the results they desire.
“I am a worker, and I think the more people that come out and make noise, the more likely people are to notice the disparities in the work force,” she said.
Marquess, a member of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, works for the state at a library and said even though she works full time, she experiences difficulty paying her expenses. She said she fears what the cuts will do to her lifestyle.
“I can no longer afford to live indoors in my home town. I have to pay more than half of my income to rent,” she said.
Dols said adverse weather conditions and poor organization led to a low turnout, but seeing those who did show up encouraged him.
“We need to get the word out,” Dols said. “Everyone knows that it does affect them. They just don’t know how badly.”
Freshman Elizabeth Fischer said she agrees and thinks more activists would foster better results.
“If other students on this campus care about their education, then everybody else should be out here too,” Fischer said.
She also said tuition hikes would give students a difficult time paying their tuition.
Rep. Luther Olsen, R-Aurora, said students are misinformed, and most of the university cuts will not affect them.
“Cuts will be more directly targeted, toward things like staff travel and advertising,” Olsen said.
But protestors called to get out the vote next fall and “remove Governor Scott McCallum from office.”
Dols said he hoped politicians would reevaluate their priorities.
“When you look at how this state is actually being run, you see the priorities going to the futures of big business,” he said. “The 4.9 percent corporate tax rate here in Wisconsin is the third lowest in the nation.”