Listening to student concerns

Kylie Jacobs, Biz & Tech Editor

The Whitewater Student Government (WSG) hosted a budget listening session to address student and community member’s questions and concerns, as well as hearing from both members of the Student Government and faculty about possible improvements for both enrollment and the budget on Monday, Feb. 17.

Alex Ostermann, president of WSG, began the meeting by stating the focus of the meeting, which centered around what was titled ‘The Three R’s,’ which are reduce, reinvest and revenue. He stated that we need to be comfortable with change yet to embrace discomfort to be able develop solutions throughout the budget issue.

“It’s natural to speculate about the what-ifs. The quickest way to suppress this instinct is to let your concerns be known and to seek information from reliable sources,” said Chancellor Dwight Watson. “Don’t hesitate to reach out.”

The agenda consisted of the university funding model, university funding by the numbers, enrollment, WSG’s role and work to date concluding in a question and answer session from students and community members.

Director of Student Affairs Ethan Hoeppner focused on the explanation for the university funding model. His portion of the meeting talked about how the money from our tuition, and  from the state, all the way down to gifts and grants can contribute main university. One of the big things he addressed was students’ worries about classes going away or being unable to graduate in four years.

“There should be no large disruption to course availability, nor should there be an impact on a student’s ability to graduate from this university in four years,” he said.

Most of the meeting focused on the three R’s. Ostermann was able to give examples for each of these three R’s (reduce, reinvest, and revenue) and how they would help to be able to adjust the budget situation. He also spoke about the student governments role and work to give the students a voice when it comes to budget concerns.

“We’ve been going through to the board of directors to see what questions can be asked about the budget. We’re finding where the expenditures are increasing, making sense of it from a student perspective, going to these different meetings, providing recommendations,” Ostermann said.

The meeting concluded with an emphasis from both faculty and WSG that there shouldn’t be a noticeable impact on students being able to get the courses they need.

For live feeds of past listening sessions for the budget, visit WSG’s Facebook page. An additional listening session will be held on Feb. 25 from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Old Main Ballroom of the University Center. Students are encouraged to ask questions related to the budget.

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