UW System should remain united

Graphic by Seth Anderson

At UW-Whitewater, every student, faculty and staff member is part of a community.

Likewise, UW-Whitewater is a member of a greater family: the UW System.

With the recent push of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill, many concerns have come to light, one of which would split the family apart.

Within the past few weeks, letters from the UW System Board of Regents and UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin have suggested UW-Madison might remove itself from the rest of the system.

Though some might feel it will have little effect on them, it is a concern we should have.

On Sunday, Walker also expressed interest in allowing other four-year schools to separate from the UW System, giving them the flexibility they have fought for.

Flexibility would ease limitations on how the UW System can use state funds at Wisconsin universities.

However, the change in the UW System would only increase competition for funding and resources.

The UW System has offered each of us great opportunities.

We currently apply through a single application process and have the opportunity to transfer between UW campuses easily.

Splitting UW-Madison from the system would lead to a funding dilemma, hurting all colleges currently in the UW System.

One of the biggest fears is the split would create political conflicts and unnecessary competition for state funding and limited resources.

Members of the UW Board of Regents have expressed concerns of the split leading to a significant increase in tuition costs at UW-Madison, squeezing out students from working-class families.

The state of Virginia attempted a similar change in 2005, something it is now rethinking. Virginia Commonwealth University attempted to raise tuition costs by 24 percent.

If UW-Madison were to split off from the system, it is just one problem all UW students could face.

Since the merger of the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin State Universities to form the UW System in 1971, the number of credits paid for has reduced, enrollment has expanded, and we have had the option of new collaborative degrees.

Going back to a two-tiered system would only result in hurtful competition and wasteful duplication at the expense of students, faculty and staff.

Though the UW System has fought for greater flexibility in how they are allowed to spend state funding, it has made it clear this is not the way to attain it.

As a part of a greater community and family it is something we must stand against.

Together, UW campuses can fight to reduce costs, increase state revenue and use resources effectively to benefit all campuses.  If it were to become divided, it would become a competition to survive.

We are united, we have been united for 40 years, and it is the way it should remain in the future.

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