Madison, WI – Members of several AFT higher education locals and students filled the Capitol on Wednesday to call on lawmakers to recommit themselves to the Wisconsin Idea by working with faculty, staff, and students to strengthen the quality of our UW-System. Students from UW-Stevens Point have largely led the organizing efforts after their campus announced in March that it would be cutting 13 majors in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
“Some of these students were in sixth grade when Scott Walker and the Republican legislature started decimating the UW System,” said Andy Felt, UW-Stevens Point professor of mathematics and Stevens Point Academic Representation Council (SPARC AFT Local 6505) President.
“According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the last six years were the lowest six years of funding for the UW System in its existence,” added Felt. “These students recognize the public value in publicly funded higher education. The UW-System has been decimated by Governor Walker, and students, staff, and faculty are working together to fight to save it.”
Faculty union members from Madison also joined the lobbying efforts at the Capitol on Wednesday. “This threat is not merely a local issue confined to UW-Stevens Point,” said Chad Goldberg, UW-Madison professor of sociology and United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS AFT Local 223) President. “The proposed program closures and possible layoffs are an attack on the Wisconsin Idea that sets a dangerous precedent for other UW System campuses.”
AFT-Wisconsin members of the Higher Education Council have been actively participating in direct action and organizing in response to ongoing attacks to the UW-System. To learn more about what’s happening on your local campus, contact AFTW Higher Ed VP, Jon Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org.