New Badger Partnership: LTE in Daily CardinalPosted: February 28, 2011
The following is a LTE that I wrote this weekend for the Daily Cardinal. Regular readers know what it says but it’s important to keep reiterating.
The New Badger Partnership can be a scary thing when first discussed. There are mountains of misinformation being disseminated about the New Badger Partnership ranging from rising tuition to dismantling the UW System. Corporatization and power grabs are participating in frightening (and frighteningly false) conversation pieces that could lead one to oppose the New Badger Partnership based on nothing but false concepts; unless, of course, you know your facts.
The New Badger Partnership is a plan built with the realities of our current socio-economic situation in mind; a plan that will help preserve this university that we all love for years to come. The bare bones of the proposal are to get more flexibility from the state in regards to our budget. We spend the money, we know how it should be handled better than the state does and we don’t like it when the state micromanages. Who do you want making decisions about your education: A board of mostly alumni and education experts or a governor who didn’t get a degree? I’m going with the school-centric board on this one.
I’m sure many of you have heard some of the previously mentioned falsehoods. Here’s the truth: the New Badger Partnership will not cause tuition to rise; the state cutting funding by roughly $50 million will cause tuition to rise. All documents released point to the New Badger Partnership actually reducing the tuition increases than if we were cut without gaining more flexibility.
Students will actually gain power in this new structure. With shared governance language preserved verbatim, we retain all authority that we have now. Additionally, we’ve been told that students would get to decide how to select our new student on the Board of Trustees, which is a huge benefit over the current system where the governor appoints whomever he pleases. Finally, isn’t it a little easier to lobby your governing board when their only concern is your campus? It’s wins all around.
The last bit of truth for this letter surrounds unfounded concerns about privatization. This university currently receives a majority of its funding from private sources and only a small minority from the state and this model seeks to better utilize the funds we have, not eliminate public funding. We will remain a public institution, committed to access, affordability and remaining one of “America’s Best Values” as named by the Princeton Review.
We’re at a crossroads for our university, fellow Badgers. Down one path is the status quo, a lot of governmental red tape and slow process, and down the other lies the tools that we need to solve some of these problems. Am I saying this proposal will fix everything? Surely not, but it’s the best hand we’ve been dealt in awhile, and as any good player could tell you, you have to know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em. We need to hold this hand.
That last paragraph is key. Keep it in mind moving forward.