UW-Madison students protest plan to split from the systemNearly 80 UW-Madison students staged a sit-in occupation inside Bascom Hall Tuesday, in an attempt to speak with Chancellor Biddy Martin.
By: Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Nearly 80 UW-Madison students staged a sit-in occupation inside Bascom Hall Tuesday, in an attempt to speak with Chancellor Biddy Martin. They wanted to share demands counter to the chancellor’s proposed New Badger Partnership.
Upon reaching Chancellor Martin’s office, students found the blinds drawn and the doors locked. Freshman Leland Pan of the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC) says they’ll still speak out against the chancellor’s proposal to split the UW-Madison from the rest of the UW-System. Pan says this would eventually privatize public education, and hurt unions.
“We’ve already privatized the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery,” says Pan. “The food service there is not privatized despite the fact that it is a university building. And Chancellor Martin is supposed to honor the contract, that all food services on campus be unionized. And you can gather from the Capitol a couple months ago, that this state is fully in favor of fighting for union rights.”
Several student groups want UW-Madison officials to oppose the governor’s proposed $125 million cut to their school, and reduce tuition to 2003 levels. They also want full state funding for minority scholarships, and greater involvement of students in policy, budget and tuition decisions.
A UW-Madison spokesman says the New Badger Partnership would give the campus more autonomy in its operations, and help the school stay competitive.
Update: Organizers with the Student Labor Action Coalition say Chancellor Martin did come out and have an impromptu discussion with the occupiers, which went on for at least an hour. While they say the chancellor largely defended her proposal, she agreed to talk to them again later this week about their concerns.