Milwaukee students protest Gov. Walker’s budget cuts, take over student union
Milwaukee, WI – Over 200 students, faculty, teaching assistants and workers rallied at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Feb. 4, in opposition to Governor Scott Walker's proposed $300 million budget cut. Governor Walker's cuts to the statewide system will force layoffs, fewer courses, the closure of departments and possibly some campuses. The proposed budget will place the UW system under the control of the governor-appointed Board of Regents instead of the elected state legislature.
“No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker has got to go!” rang out as the crowd in Spaights Plaza on the Milwaukee campus grew larger and larger.
Protesters marched into the student union after listening to students and professors speak about the harm the proposed cuts would cause, particularly to working class and low-income students. Students formed a large picket line taking over the concourse, while a group dropped a banner from the third floor stairway reading “They say cut back. We say fight back! No cuts to UW.”
“The rally for me was a small but incredibly important starting point for what I hope is a long and successful struggle against those who support these cuts,” said student protester Will Guenthner.
He continued, “Education is something I find essential to our society and its prosperity. Also, solidarity is something that honestly gives me the chills. There's nothing more powerful than unifying with your peers, especially when the consequences are as drastic as the ones we face.”
Organized by Progressive Students of Milwaukee, an affiliate of Students for a Democratic Society, there are more plans are in the works to oppose Governor Walker's austerity plans. Student leaders say they do not want to sacrifice the quality, accessibility and affordability of higher education in Wisconsin just to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.