Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Students, university officials discuss budget cuts

The university hosted the third Round Table Luncheon of the semester Thursday, giving students, faculty and staff an opportunity to hear and discuss information on how recent state budget cuts may affect the UW system.

UW System president Katharine Lyall was originally scheduled to speak at the event, but was unable to attend due to illness. Vice President for University Relations Linda Weimer spoke in Lyall?s place, explaining the importance of keeping the university system fiscally strong in order to maintain quality education and in turn to keep the economy strong.

“There is no better model for the impact of the university on the economy of the state than the UW-Madison campus,” Weimer told the audience. “UW-Madison is among the top dozen universities in the country that foster state economic growth.”

Weimer said the economic impact of the UW system is, conservatively, about $10 billion annually, and some people might argue that the university system is one of the few things this state has going for it, economically.

With the state budget out of balance by $1.1 billion, there are proposals and suggestions as to how much the UW System should be cut.

“During the last 25 years, higher education has become a lower priority,” Weimer said. “However, the university is one of the few levers the state can use to fuel economic growth. Our graduates work for Wisconsin businesses, and our faculty and staff assist local businesses and help spin off successful companies.”

Weimer said the state is dependent on UW graduates to maintain Wisconsin?s workforce.

“The state depends heavily on UW graduates to fill its workforce needs,” Weimer said. “For example, nine out of 10 registered pharmacists in Wisconsin are UW graduates, and 68% of Wisconsin?s K-12 teachers are UW graduates.”

Weimer also said it would be difficult to cut the budget because of the damage it could do to the university personnel.

“We are a people-intensive business,” Weimer said. “When our budget is cut significantly, we can?t make ends meet without cutting faculty or staff. And when we cut people, we reduce our instructional capacity to serve students. And we eliminate good jobs for Wisconsin.”

WSUM general manager Dave Black attended the luncheon and said he was surprised by the information presented.

“I thought it was very informative. There were a lot of things there that I didn?t know about,” Black said. “There are things we ought to be concerned about. I think we want to make sure we are getting the best students possible on campus, to create the best educational environment, so things like the radio station, like the student newspapers, like other activities that are called extracurricular but are actually essential to what we do — have the best pool of students to draw from.”

United Council president Jeff Pertl was also present for the luncheon.

“I came down here to find out what the situation was on the budget,” Pertl said. “As hokey as this [budget] mess is, the university is essential to resolving some of our social and economic issues.”

Pertl concurred with Weimer and said the university is critical to the economy.

“If you want to build a strong economy, you need to build a strong workforce,” he said.

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