UW-Milwaukee Student Association president Ryan Sorenson said his initial reaction to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut funding to the UW System was that he felt completely shocked.
“I was worried what this would impact,” Sorenson said. “I wondered what this cut is going to affect at UW-Milwaukee? Is this going to impact classes and courses, or more of an aspect of student life on campus?”
Sorenson later found out that Walker’s proposal could impact his own position at UWM for reasons different than a budget cut. The governor hopes to give each university more independence from the state through a Public Authority. That portion of the plan, as with the budget cuts, requires legislative approval.
His plans would remove shared governance and tenure from state law and make them rules that could be changed by the Board of Regents, who are almost all appointed by Walker. Shared governance requires each university to share governance among faculty and students, as opposed to concentrating it within the Board of Regents and administration.
“Moving shared governance from state statute to system policy (may bring) a lot of different changes that really impact how shared governance is implemented on campus and the system,” Sorenson said.
Sorenson said he’s happy with the way the government is currently run at the university.
“I go by the motto ‘don’t fix it if it’s not broken,’ and I think shared governance works on every campus in the system,” Sorenson said.
While the budget moves though the legislature and its implications are revealed, Sorenson plans to collaborate often with other student government leaders through UW System Student Reps.
“A few nights ago, we had an emergency student reps meeting,” Sorenson said. “We all met online and talked about how this budget will affect each of our campuses.”