Milwaukee students march through campus to protest budget cuts
Milwaukee, WI – For the second week in a row, students, faculty and staff rallied at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's budget cuts. Walker is threatening to cut $300 million from Wisconsin’s universities.
The governor plans to restructure Wisconsin's public university system into a ‘Public Authority.’ As a Public Authority, the governor will hand pick the appointees who run the higher education system. With more power in his hands, Walker argues he will have the “flexibility” to make up for budget shortfalls by raising tuition and cutting the number of professors, graduate assistants and workers.
Over 100 people gathered in Spaights Plaza, Feb. 11, in front of a large banner reading, “They say cut back, we say fight back!” Progressive Students of Milwaukee, an affiliate of Students for a Democratic Society, organized the protest. Labor leaders from AFSCME, MTEA, and TAUWP spoke at the rally about the importance of uniting workers and students to fight the cuts.
After getting fired up, students marched through the Lubar School of Business and into the Student Union, where a student involvement fair was taking place. Several students joined the march as it circled the union concourse before returning to Spaights Plaza.
“I participated in the rally because as a student I feel it is necessary to stand up against Walker's war on education and I believe every student and staff member should have been out there with us,” said student organizer Sarah Shelleh. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, so I am eager to see everyone come together in this struggle to get our voices heard and put a stop to these outrageous budget cuts.”
“We vow to continue building the movement against the proposed budget cuts and Walker’s attempts to take over our public university system. Students need accessible and affordable education, not the ‘flexible’ higher costs and lower quality Walker is offering,” explained Daniel Williams with Progressive Students of Milwaukee.