Cross talks biennial budget, system climate with ASM leaders

UW System President Ray Cross answered questions from ASM leaders on campus climate, student segregated fees and tuition during a meeting Wednesday.

Image By: Madeline Heim

UW System President Ray Cross asked several leaders of UW-Madison’s student government Wednesday to “influence the decision-makers” who will decide the fate of Wisconsin’s public universities in the state’s upcoming biennial budget.

System administrators have requested $42.5 million for 2017-’19.

“It’s not enough; it should be a lot more,” Cross said, but acknowledged that state legislators have called the request reasonable and doable.

Members of Coordinating Council and ASM as a whole can have an impact on how the system fares in the budget, Cross said, by reaching out to legislators and sharing their stories.

Key issues in Wisconsin’s public higher education landscape like college affordability and time-to-degree are also best spoken on by the students who go through them daily, Cross said.

“You’re in a better position to tell this story than we are,” he explained.

ASM Vice Chair Mariam Coker asked Cross to detail possible solutions for making the system a safer place for historically marginalized groups of students, noting the death of an international student earlier in the month at UW-Stout and bias incidents at UW-Madison.

“Being completely honest, I’m fearful for me and my friends’ lives,” Coker said.

She pushed Cross to go beyond asking for input from students of color and create active steps to move forward., which he agreed with.

Shared Governance Committee Chair Sally Rohrer also questioned the role of performance-based funding in the system’s budget.

Cross said he does not like performance-based funding, but the hundreds of millions of cuts to the system have caused any source of new funding to look like a good option.

And though he said he is worried that Gov. Scott Walker will attempt to make the entire $42.5 million request align with performance metrics, he said if that occurs, the system will fight it.

“I think we’ll win,” Cross said.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.