System president talks budget

Sarah Zander

UW System President Ray Cross attended the Oshkosh Student Association’s Senate meeting on Tuesday and answered students’ questions regarding the budget cut.

After being introduced, Cross immediately opened the floor to inquiries from OSA Senate members, including President Jordan Schettle.

Schettle asked Cross what sort of reductions the UW System is planning to implement due to the potential budget cut.

Cross said around July, the UW System will be re-examining the functions it currently performs and will try to weigh which actions benefit the state the most as a whole.
“For those actions that do not benefit all, they face the potential of being ended,” Cross said.

Schettle also asked Cross what change shared governance groups anticipate if Chapter 36, the state statute that protects shared governance on campuses, moves to UW System or Board of Regents policy.

Cross said since shared governance is intertwined in all of our universities, the removal of Chapter 36 to Board of Regents policy should have no observable outcomes to the affected parties.

After Cross answered all of the Senate’s questions, the floor was opened up to the audience which consisted of about 20 other students.

UWO student and Reeve Advisory Council President Nicki Raccio asked Cross how the student body can effectively make their voices heard by the Legislature.

“I know there’s a lot of people, whether they’re council folks or state representatives or students, that think the budget cut is too much and too soon,” Raccio said.
Cross said students should first thank the Legislature for being as understanding as they have been so far.

“Nearly everyone on the Legislature already believes that the budget cut needs a reduction,” Cross said.

Cross said for students to make their voices heard come April, they should hit the Legislature in a concentrated way, acting thoroughly and rationally.

Cross said students should ask the Legislature to reduce the cuts for a dedicated funding stream in the future and for flexibility.

Schettle said this is the first time Cross has addressed shared governance groups since Gov. Walker’s proposed budget was released.

“President Cross’ attendance this evening helps solidify the notion that UW System administration, as well as individual campus administration, has a true commitment to both shared governance and transparency,” Schettle said.

Schettle said Cross is planning to travel to every campus in the UW System over the next few months to make sure he relays information correctly to all interested parties.

“His attendance tonight also shows that OSA’s handling of the budget situation is truly gaining attention,” Schettle said. “Many of our fellow campuses have held student protests of some form or another, but OSA has decided to avoid that form of advocacy and attempt other means of communication.”

Schettle said OSA has instead invited important players to address the body and believes Cross attending on Tuesday proves their efforts are working.

“His answers were beneficial in one truly important way: they were his own word,” Schettle said. “In regards to this situation, President Cross’ answers tonight simply added legitimacy to the formal position of UW System.”