Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts for the UW System have provoked opposition in the form of rallies and protests from the state Capitol to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus. However, there’s one group on campus that likes the cuts: The College Republicans.
While some students oppose Gov. Walker’s plan, there are others who feel like it is a big step forward for Wisconsin and the university system. The College Republicans of UWM are a student organization that’s goal is to spread the message and principles of the Republican Party to students.
However, at least one College Republican leader would like to see a longer term tuition freeze.
Tyler Bundies, a junior business student and the Senior Advisor for the organization, agrees with the budget plan.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Bundies. “There’s so much ridiculous spending not only on a state level but on a university level as well.”
The governor’s budget reform proposed cuts of around $300 million for the UW System and aims to eliminate waste surrounding the school system. The results of the cuts would include big changes to all UW schools including possible job losses and cuts to courses and individual programs but would also set up a public entity which would allow each school to gain more autonomy and be able to manage their own finances individually. The Legislature has the final say.
Thomas Dougherty, a sophomore business student at Milwaukee and the Vice Chairman of the college Republicans of UWM, believes the autonomy that Gov. Walker’s plan will give is an important aspect.
“It’s just basic economics,” said Dougherty. “What he’s trying to do is give UW schools more autonomy so they can make their own decisions and be responsible for their own money.”
Bundies agreed and notes that the autonomy will allow each school to manage their own spending and cut costs on their own terms.
Included in the plan was a continued tuition freeze over the next two years that also will include various programs from the state’s technical schools. Even with the continued freeze, there are fears that the universities will be forced to raise tuition costs immediately following the freeze in order to combat the cuts. Bundies believes that while this is a legitimate concern, limiting income will ultimately be beneficial.
“I think they need to make sure they create a more long-term tuition freeze,” said Bundies. “For the budget reform to take true effect they need to really limit the money being taken in so that they look at their expenditures rather than their income.”
With the concern, came plenty of opposition. UWM’s campus was the site for several student organized protests after the announcement was made. Posters with messages protesting the plan were made and students and faculty of UWM filled the Union to express their feelings towards the proposal. While they are justified, Dougherty believes they are also being misled.
“The way the media has portrayed it, I can understand it,” said Dougherty. “All the headlines are ‘million dollar cut to schools’ and it doesn’t explain what the issue is. You’ve got to delve deeper into the issue and understand what’s happening in politics before you take the next step.”
That justification is shared by Bundies.
“Everyone has the right, and almost the obligation, to have their voice heard when they have an opinion,” said Bundies.
While those who oppose Gov. Walker’s plan have partaken in the rallies and protests on a large scale, supporters have taken a different approach.
“Talk to your friends about it. Get the numbers from state reps,” said Bundies. “That speaks more than just shouting in Spaights Plaza. I’d much rather talk to the people I interact with and have more of that grassroots effort.”