UW Oshkosh creates ‘Save My UW’ campaign
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2011 18:03
As an initiative to help inform the student body about the possibility of UW Madison splitting from the UW System, students and faculty passed out fliers and buttons that read, "Save My UW."
Assistant professor of economics Chad Cotti referred to the project as an uncontrived initiative. When news about Chancellor Biddy Martin's proposed deal with Gov. Scott Walker first broke, Cotti and several other faculty members closely followed the situation.
Cotti was surprised when he and his colleagues struck up a conversation with faculty who did not know what was happening. They were eager to learn, but nobody had presented the materials to them yet. This is when the "Save My UW" initiative was created. It wasn't planned or structured, but was more of an organic and spontaneous movement of faculty and students reaching out to their peers.
Timothy Suess, president of the Oshkosh Student Association, is another coordinator of the "Save My UW" initiative. Suess had also been involved with the promotion and creation of "Save My UW" materials and said his wish is for this to transcend from a student issue to a community issue through public awareness.
Cotti attributed the idea to hand out buttons to David Siemers, a professor of political science, and Marianne Johnson, an associate professor of economics.
Johnson said that when the first news reports regarding the possibility of UW Madison splitting from the UW System came out her, students asked her if the UW Madison could actually do that. When she answered that UW Madison might separate from the UW System, a student replied, "We don't know what this means, but we're pretty sure it's bad for us."
At a meeting on Feb. 28, OSA passed several resolutions, which asserted its position opposing the budget repair bill in its current form, Senate Bill 6 and the splitting of UW Madison from the rest of the UW System. The following week, OSA passed a resolution supporting public authority for all UW schools.
"[This] is a huge concern," Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Petra Roter said at the meeting. "If we have two separate systems going to the legislation to get dollars... there is some disparity from who can lobby the best gets the most money. You're setting up a very competitive system where before we were more collaborative. This could end up pitting us against each other."
Cotti said during the rough fiscal times that Wisconsin universities are facing, it is important to use funds in the most beneficial way possible.
"Regardless of your political views," Cotti said, "in these tough economic times the state can't afford to be wasteful with its dollars and appropriations."
Cotti also advocates that if public authority were beneficial to the state if Madison obtains it, then it would also be beneficial for the entire UW System to obtain it.
"[UW schools] can't move money legally from non-instruction to instruction," Cotti said.
Cotti further explained how money received from the state government is earmarked for certain types of spending when it is received by a UW school from the government. These earmarks include the requirement of buying certain items through certain vendors, which could create unnecessary overhead.
Cotti said the "Save My UW" initiative's main goal is to inform people on the situation, but now he wishes for students to continue garnering support for university leaders without disrupting the process.