UWO Students worried about budget cuts


By Ethan Uslabar

By Ethan Uslabar

In January 2018, UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said he wanted to decrease the University’s budget by $9.5 million in the next two years by cutting spending, leading to classes being cut across majors.
Students registering for classes have noticed these changes.

UWO sophomore and anthropology major Elashia Cartagena,said it can be annoying to not have certain classes available when registering.

“It’s kind of irritating,” Cartagena said. “When I first read the site, I was reading about some of the classes and then I was told, ‘Oh, we don’t have those anymore.’”
UWO freshman Jina Lee said although she hasn’t decided her major yet, cutting classes can prevent students from exploring different majors.

“I feel like it’s not really fair to students who want to expand into other areas of their learning,” Lee said.

UWO senior Jennifer Morales, a dual elementary and special education major, said it makes scheduling classes harder for students.

“There’s less options to fit them in your schedule,” Morales said. “It’s kind of hard when you’re trying to figure out your whole plan until graduation.”
Religious studies professor Dr. Kathleen Corley said the decrease in classes no longer provides a wide range of choices to students.

“It is of course difficult for students who no longer have the breadth of courses in the humanities,” Corley said. “Also, budget cuts have made it necessary for the college to charge tuition for interim courses.”
Interim courses were previously included in the cost for both fall and spring semesters.

Corley said the religious studies major is currently on suspension.

That suspension could become permanent after five years if not enough courses are offered to meet the needs of religious studies majors.
Corley said although there is this dilemma, she isn’t worried that the program will be cut completely.

“I feel that we have the support of the chancellor, who would make the ultimate decision about any potential dissolution of the religious studies program,” Corley said.
Morales said cut classes could be one of the factors leading to students taking longer to graduate, and they should be aware of that.

“First they said I was only going to be here five years; now it’s five and a half,” Morales said. “So it’s not ideal that we want to be here for longer, but sometimes if that’s what you want to do, you’re going to stay here longer to finish it.”

Morales, however, said she understands that some people hope to get done in four years.

“I know people want to be in and out in four years,” Morales said. “I have friends that have actually transferred because it would have taken longer here than at other schools.”
Cartagena said graduation time could go either way with classes and majors being affected by the budget cuts.

“It possibly could take longer just because of what you all have to go through,” Cartagena said. “But also it could speed it up because you know exactly what you need. It’s like a double-edged sword.”
For future students, the potential to have classes for their major cut could be a deterrent for choosing to attend UWO.

“I think they might end up wanting to reconsider coming here, especially if that happens,” Lee said.

Cartagena said cutting classes could lead to a decrease in new students at the University.

“I feel like if you’re going to cut classes, people are just going to go to the bigger universities because of more funding,” Cartagena said. “So if they cut the way the school is now, I don’t think a lot of people would want to go here anyway.”

Morales said future students need to be aware of the potential to be here longer but to look at the positives of the school.

“You have to be aware of what you are getting out of the program because honestly I’ve heard good things about every single program here at Oshkosh,” Morales said.
Corley said the cuts, although difficult at times, are necessary to ensure the University can continue to run.

“The school has been in financial crisis for some time,” Corley said. “It is best for the students to have UWO remain open with cuts that need to be made, rather than closing.”
Although these budget cuts are necessary, the University needs to look at how students are affected and how it could affect future enrollment.