Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Letters to the editor

This letter is in regards to The Badger Herald’s editorial published January 30, entitled ‘A Bad Bill.’ I am compelled to comment. SB 175 would benefit all students. This bill would increase representation from one student regent (who is currently chosen by the governor), and add one student who is chosen by students — a central theme to democracy.

Students are the group most affected by the decisions of the Board of Regents, and thus keeping in the spirit of shared governance, students should have a voice in those discussions and the power of the vote to determine their fate.

The component of having one student regent as a non-traditional student is crucial. A non-traditional student, by definition, would allow someone who understands exactly what most college students endure: attending school full-time and working part-time. Furthermore, a second student regent would mean always having one student regent with one year of experience.

United Council is indeed effective and clearly benefits UW-Madison students. Through our lobbying and organizing efforts, we have kept UW-Madison’s tuition the second-lowest in the Big Ten. We worked hard to increase the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant and the Pell Grant.

In November, Madison hosted our Building Unity conference, the state’s largest and most comprehensive multicultural issues conference in the state. Finally, contrary to the editorial board’s assertion, we have never campaigned against the Madison Initiative. In fact, we actively support most of its provisions.

UC is a non-partisan organization that spends the majority of its time fighting for meat-and-potato issues such as limiting tuition and increasing financial aid.

To an editorial board — who last summer endorsed this year’s 8.4 percent tuition hike for UW-Madison — working on limiting tuition, increasing financial aid, supporting the Madison Initiative and doubling student representation on the Board of Regents must undoubtedly seem like a radical agenda. If fighting for a quality, affordable, accessible education for working families is a radical agenda, then so be it.

SB 175 will benefit all students: it will double student representation and it will allow students to directly elect their own regent. Yesterday, the Senate made the right choice by supporting basic democratic principles. I urge the Assembly to do the same.

Matthew P. Fargen, United Council president

By reading The Badger Herald it has become very clear that the paper pushes an ideology. Fine. It’s funny, however, to watch this libertarian rag maintain this ideology to the point of “passing on the bus pass” on a liberal campus laden with idealistic youth, especially when its positions could not be more contrary to the pragmatic self-interest of its student readers.

Its most ridiculous position has been to accept what seems like an inevitable tuition hike. Since the budget announcement I have seen the word “bargain” twice to describe our tuition. What a wonderful way to manipulate the fact that post-secondary education is gradually becoming an elitist pursuit.

Just so the Herald knows, by “elite” I do not mean a bureaucrat or some university intellectual. No, I would like to end the manipulation of that term and restore its rightful suggestion. I mean owners of surplus capital, people living in gated communities. The rich kids — that small portion of the population that has never had to think twice about survival and its needs. Those who consider poverty a nuisance rather than a symptom.

Promoting a tuition hike as inevitable goes beyond being absurdly confusing and contrary to its readers’ interest to just being poor and selfish social policy.

To say “bargain” to students living on potatoes and oatmeal, working two jobs, getting no help from mommy and daddy or accumulating a mountain of debt is a slap in the face. A tuition hike is equivalent to minimizing and obstructing access to an education necessary to participate in the culture of power our society maintains. To those hesitant and fearful about attending, who feel overwhelmed, whose parents have never gone, this bloating price tag is the clinching discouragement.

It has been said that ideology is an agent capable of producing every imaginable social distortion. The Badger Herald’s ideology will further distort society by reinforcing the status quo power structure and maintaining informal but obvious race and class segregation.

Let education be free. It is the least obstructive path to equality.

Tony Schultz, UW Madison Senior

I wonder when this current torrent of conservative whining in this newspaper will end. Over the past few months, I have seen articles whining about the lack of respect for conservative viewpoints and how liberals just don’t want to hear another side of the story. Well, as a person with liberal political views, Ms. Gould is exactly right.

If she is referring to pieces such as hers that make little effort to articulate a point about an issue, she is right. I will just roll my eyes and move on. If all that is being done is making broad uniformed statements that fit your political agenda, frankly I will just block you out of my mind.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of article that has continued to appear in recent months. I always enjoy hearing both sides of an issue — yes, even the conservative viewpoint — as long as those viewpoints are well thought and argued effectively. Am I blind to the fact that some liberals on this campus do the same thing? Absolutely not.

However, I see fewer articles whining about the lack of respect for liberal ideas. If people want to be taken seriously and not have their ideas “shelved,” then stop whining and start working on articulating your ideas without resorting to broad demagogic statements intended for shock value.


Jake Strand, Student

[email protected]

A recent column in The Badger Herald regarding campus housing has gotten varying responses. While everyone has made interesting points, I was struck by what Vance Gathing wrote.

To summarize, he said new developments are: “expensive and may have a ripple affect that increases rents around them.” He went on to say that increased ordinances governing housing was the best plan.

I must respectfully disagree with Vance on both accounts.

Let’s start with the theory that new housing developments are too costly and increase everyone’s rent. It is true that there are some magnificent housing projects that have gone up recently. It is also the case that these new developments have higher rents than other apartments, but two observations.

First, some of these developments are right where everyone would like to live if they had a chance. After all, who wouldn’t want to live on Langdon Street, near Memorial Union? But there’s only so much space on Langdon. If you want to live there, you are going to have to look early and be prepared to pay higher rent for it.

The second observation is that these projects are apartment buildings, not apartment houses. There is a difference. Apartment buildings tend to offer more services. Heating tends to work better, they are cleaner, safer and often have other amenities. Once again, you will pay slightly more for this. But competition is always good. As more apartment buildings and houses are built, rent ultimately goes down because the supply-demand ratio changes.

This brings me to Vance’s other statement; that more rules regarding housing helps residents. Of course no one should live in a leaky bedroom or have rats sharing their living room, but do you really think landlords want that either? It’s bad PR and if they refuse to do anything about it, they can get in trouble. You don’t need to have a law stating “rats are bad.”

Further, many of these rules offer no real increased “rights” and instead give landlords the impression that offering student housing is bad business. If too many think that, less housing will go up and, thus, rent will increase.

Vance, tenants have rights, but we also have responsibilities. If you want to live in a high demand area, look early and expect to pay slightly more. If you think a place’s rent is too high or the landlord is shady, don’t live there. But don’t blame the landlord in a high demand area for asking for more in rent. They will only lower it if they have competition.

Jeff ErlangerMadison Resident

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