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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Biddy addresses grad students' NBP worries

Chancellor Biddy Martin answered student and staffs' questions on the New Badger Partnership in Mitchell Theater Tuesday, and addressed graduate students' concerns specifically.

Some graduate students in the audience said they felt the New Badger Partnership could be a good business decision for the university but, according to Casey Schmitt, ""from a graduate student's perspective, we're more concerned with education.""

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""I'm not sure where my place is in a market-driven system,"" said Schmitt, a graduate student in communications arts. ""I feel like I'm expendable.""

Drawing on her own time in UW-Madison's graduate program, Martin said she understood Schmitt's concerns.

""You need to have the best faculty in the country to work with, otherwise you wouldn't be here,"" said Martin. ""If we don't have more flexibility … your great faculty are going to leave, and young faculty aren't going to come here.""

Martin also said she shared some graduates' concerns about future wages when Gov. Scott Walker's proposed collective bargaining bill becomes law.

She assured graduate students even without the force of law behind unions, the university would still bargain ""in good faith"" with graduates.

""What you're making [as a salary] is ridiculous, and we at the university … know we won't be able to keep you at this rate,"" Martin told teaching assistants.

Schmitt said although he was still skeptical, he appreciated the response.

""Today, [Martin] did add bits to the discourse I hadn't seen come up before,"" Schmitt said.

The chancellor also stressed the importance of maintaining the university's commitment to diversity, saying undergraduate initiatives and performing arts programs such as First Wave, Posse and PEOPLE would still ""be held as high priorities.""

When answering those who questioned the New Badger Partnership's potential to pass in the legislature, Martin was optimistic.

""I don't think we have the votes we need right now,"" she said. ""But I think [the New Badger Partnership] has a good chance of passing.""

Martin said she sent out e-mails to students and staff hoping that those in favor of the partnership could help dispel misinformation.

""The e-mails are not meant to imply that you have to agree [with the New Badger Partnership],"" Martin said. ""They're meant to imply that if you do agree; help.""

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