College News

Despite the rain, Reclaim the UW protesters band together against program cuts

Cutting humanities programs at UW-Superior and Stevens Point found opposition from students and faculty once again, this time with the help of Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point (above) and State Superintendent Tony Evers. 

Image By: Robyn Cawley

Nearly a month after a Reclaim the UW protest in a blizzard, once again UW-Stevens Point and Superior students and staff band together — this time in a rainstorm.

In front of the Capitol, speakers fought against cuts to 26 programs in Superior and the plan from Stevens Point to slash 12 humanities programs. This solution followed the recent budget cuts to both universities.

“There is no rhyme or reason for this proposal. It is purely political and it is purely ideological,” Rep. Katrina Shankland said. “So, when they tell you not to make it political. They are the ones making it political.”

This is not the first time Shankland has spoke against this. Following the initial proposal to cut programs in March, the Stevens Point alumna was “saddened” to see humanities programs at risk of being cut in her press release.

“To the education leaders making these decisions I ask: Where is your humanity?” said Shankland. The protestors responded, “It’s been cut!”

Among the many that spoke out, state Sen. Dave Hansen, a UW-Green Bay alum, gave an impassioned speech about the value of liberal arts majors.

“Education is about learning to think critically, to question what others are saying and what we, and others, believe,” Hansen said. “Education is critical to keeping this democracy that our forefathers gave us.”

At 2 p.m., the protesters delivered a letter to Gov. Scott Walker, paralleling their previous efforts with the Board of Regents last month.

The letter voiced concerns about Walker’s actions on the updated tenure policy, the elimination of tuition reciprocity from students coming from Minnesota and the loss of over $650 million due to the tuition freeze and disinvestment.

“The last seven years have borne witness to repeated assaults on the Wisconsin Idea and the abandonment of the mission that has guided the University of Wisconsin System for 170 years,” it read.

Lexie Neeley, a UWSP student and key member of the Reclaim the UW movement, thanked everyone for their efforts while calling out members of Wisconsin government — including Sen. Ron Johnson, UW President Ray Cross and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“I have this to say: Shame on you.” Neeley said.

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