On Wed Apr 15 around noon, about 40 Parkside students and staff marched the halls of the University in protest of Walker’s proposed $300 million budget cuts. The protestors organized near the OMSA (Office of Student Multicultural Affairs) in Wyllie Hall and made their way across the school to the student center. Permission for the protest was not requested; however, the Parkside Police did not make any attempts to stop it.
Students held signs reading “Stop the Cuts” and “Save the UW”, while chanting “Up up with education, down down with legislation”. Among student concerns were delays in graduation and grant availability. “Because of limited class availability, I have had to drop my minor. I’ve also been forced into taking out more loans because my grants have been reduced,” says an anonymous Parkside junior.
Student Ritu Patel, 20, mentioned that she knows several students, herself included, that have had significant delays in graduation, because the class availability in the biology department does not meet the needs of the students.
Protesters gathered outside on the steps near the student center where they voiced their opinions. “You’re not only taking away from each individual’s potential, but from our state’s potential!” shouts student body vice president Gabrielle Krawczyk “With these cuts, we cannot afford the amazing professors that make our UW system great!” adds student Annalee Sepanski.
Preceding these statements, student body president Gabriel Coronado urged protestors to call their state representative Senator Richard Gudex to make their disapproval of the UW Budget known. In an interview, Coronado stressed that “anyone who is concerned about the cuts should reach senator Gudex at (608) 266-5300 or via email at Sen.Gudex@legis.wisconsin.gov.”
Surrounding the protest, many students expressed concerns that the protest should not have taken place on Parkside’s campus, because “administration is not to blame for these cuts”. In response to these concerns, President Coronado stated “I would agree with their perspective that it’s not the administration who proposed these cuts; however, one of the objectives was to raise awareness of the current status that the UW System is going through. Although many students are aware, there are also many that are not. During the protest we called several legislators, regardless of party, and asked them to not approve the proposed budget.”
He also added that based on the feeds he has seen on social media and local press, it seems like their objective to raise awareness and concern was achieved.
Article by Doria DeBartolo