Letters to the Editor

· Jul 18, 2001 Tweet

New Student Regent lends deaf ear to minority concerns

On July 12, the UW Board of Regents released their increase in tuition for students from around the UW System. The Board of Regents almost unanimously voted for the tuition increase. The only person to vote against the increase was the only regent elected by the citizens of this state, Elizabeth Burmaster. Ironically, the newly appointed student Regent, Tommy Jones Jr., an African-American student from UW-Whitewater, VOTED FOR THE INCREASE. He insinuated students appreciate what they are getting in return.

However, as in past years, the increase in tuition is not proportional to increased enrollment of students of color. There still exist huge barriers for students of color accessing a higher education, which now includes a higher tuition bill. As a student of color, it is very shocking to hear another student of color not recognize and understand the struggles we experience trying to gain a higher education.

The Assembly’s version of the budget does not include increases for the Lawton Minority Undergraduate Retention Program or the Advanced Opportunity Program. The Senate’s proposed version of the budget does allow for increases for these two programs. This is a crucial time for students of color. For the first time, we have a student regent of color. It is imperative that Regent Jones stays accountable to students, especially students of color.

David Presberry

LGBT of Color Liaison of the Associated Students of Madison

Tuition increase puts higher education in jeopardy

I am writing because I am concerned about the accessibility of higher education in Wisconsin. State legislators often claim that Wisconsin is “the education state.” This title can no longer apply if financial aid does not keep up with the UW Board of Regent’s seven to ten percent tuition increase for next year. Tuition has gone up over 600 percent since 1973. If UW Madison’s tuition had stayed in line with the rate of inflation since 1975, today’s tuition would be $1,783 per year rather than the $3,568 per year students are now paying. When tuition goes up, financial aid must increase as well, to assure students are not priced out of an education.

Given that the UW Board of Regents just increased tuition twice the rate of inflation, the timing is even more crucial for the state Legislature to keep education affordable for the most needy students. As the Conference Committee meets, I urge them to support the Senate proposal to link tuition increases with financial aid increases. I also encourage them to increase funding for the Wisconsin High Education Grant program, the Lawton Grant and the Advanced Opportunity Program Grant. These grants provide assistance to low-income and traditionally underrepresented communities, assuring the UW System remains accessible to all while providing a diverse, dynamic educational experience.

Finally, I wanted to thank the members of the Senate for supporting the above efforts to keep the UW System accessible for low-income students. I sincerely hope that other legislators will realize the value of a college degree so Wisconsin may once more call itself “the education state.”

Faith Kurtyka

Summer Legislative Director of the Associated Students of Madison

Tuition increase threatens to price students out

As I follow the state budget process, I am disturbed by Wisconsin’s lack of support for higher education. I am incredibly disappointed by the UW’s Board of Regents decision to increase tuition by seven percent. This increase, in addition to significant increases in other fees such as room and board costs, will cost students nearly $500 more per school year. How much more can we take? I have to express this concern as my access to the university continues to be in jeopardy.

As a student at UW-La Crosse, I already am forced to work extraordinary hours to fund my college education. UW System President Katherine Lyall said students should “think of the increase in terms of real dollars.” I look at it in terms of hours worked. Since I have to go to school and work, travel time doesn’t exist and I am forced to work on-campus for just over minimum wage. This increase in the cost of education will force me to work an additional 75 hours each year. How am I supposed to study, get good grades and be involved in the extra-curricular activities employers demand when I’m working nearly full-time year round?

To offset a small part of my education, I receive the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant, but not all students are so lucky. The Assembly only offered a two percent increase in the WHEG, not nearly enough to cover the increases in the cost of education. I am worried when it comes time for me to pick up my financial aid check, it won’t be enough. I urge the Legislature to fully support the UW System budget and not balance the budget on the backs of UW students. If the Legislature refuses to invest in education, you may be able to chalk me up as another one of the students priced out of higher education in the “Education State.” At least I won’t be alone.

Joe Amundsen

UW-La Crosse Student Association Vice-President

Jones betrays students

I am writing to express my deep concern with the student representation on the UW Board of Regents. On July 12, the regents voted to increase tuition 8.4 percent at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison and seven percent at all other campuses. While this came as no surprise, such affirmation by the only student regent was a tremendous blow. I am appalled any student could sit on the Board and condone an increase that will inevitably price some students out of an education. Student regent Tommie Jones, Jr., in what was probably his only opportunity to vote on tuition levels, had the opportunity to take a stand for students. Voting “no” to the increase would have truly represented the 155,000 students, rather than the privileged views of his fellow regents and system administrators.

Many of the regents will probably never know what it is like to work full-time for minimum wage, attend school full-time and still have time for family. I expect more from our only student representative. I hope in the future Regent Jones takes his constituents into greater consideration before voting on an issue that negatively impacts working families of Wisconsin.

Only Regent Elizabeth Burmaster, the only democratically elected regent, voted against the increase. This illustrates the need to elect regents and hold them accountable for their actions. This also underscores the importance of the Senate proposal to limit regent control over tuition rates.

I want to thank Elizabeth Burmaster for standing up for working families. I also want to thank the Senate for recognizing the importance of the State Legislature setting tuition. Finally, I want to thank Regent Jones for proving why students should select their own member of the Board of Regents.

Talia L. Schank

President, Student Association at UW-Milwaukee

Protect abortion at UW

Rep. Scott Walker is up to his devious and intellectually dishonest legislative shenanigans again. He has decided to insert a provision in the Assembly version of the budget that would outlaw the teaching of abortion techniques at the UW-Madison School of Medicine.

Instead of allowing his proposal to face the usual public scrutiny by following the normal legislative route — a separate Legislative bill followed by public hearings for input from the people of Wisconsin, Walker has chosen, as he has done before, to use an unrelated piece of very important legislation to sneak in his odious and despicable piece of legislation.

Rep. Walker has not reflected or thought about the possibility that the lives of some women are saved by doctors who abort progeny that are occasionally life-threatening. It would appear the lives of those women mean nothing to him as he grandstands before a sectarian mob that would deny life to a living, breathing woman in life-threatening distress.

That a human fetus is not the equivalent of a human being is obviously the view of the Bible. Money damages are demanded in Exodus 21:22-25 in the event that someone causes a woman to have a miscarriage. Moreover, there is the suggestion in Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 that “better off. . .is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.” One could reasonably argue that the above verse sanctions abortion.

Rep. Walker needs reminding that abortion is constitutionally legal. His attempts to pose as a dictator of medical ethics is despicable, unconscionable and absurd.

Reverend Tom Hutt

Menasha, WI
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This article was published Jul 18, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Jul 18, 2001 at 12:00 am

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