New Badger Partnership: My Open Letter to ASM and StudentsPosted: March 2, 2011
I wrote this yesterday in response to the Governor’s budget proposal.
Dear members of ASM,
Today, Governor Walker released his proposal for the state’s budget for the 2011-13 biennial. As expected, there were provisions for UW Madison to gain many of the flexibilities that Chancellor Martin has been advocating for through the New Badger Partnership and sizeable hits to many state agencies, including higher education. While many of the details have yet to be fully explored, it is clear that the University of Wisconsin Madison will not be spared from a comprehensive cut to our operations.
I implore you to continue to do your research on what the proposed budget, coupled with the Budget Repair Bill, will mean for the University. While it is easy to jump to conclusions, we must stay vigilant and informed to avoid the spreading of misinformation and adding to the vitriol of the public debate. Check your facts–double check them–and think long and hard about what they will mean for our university, both in the immediate and for generations to come. We cannot afford to be ill informed at this juncture.
I have seldom been happier with ASM than I have in the past few weeks. The Budget Repair Bill has offered a chance for the student voice to be heard in a way that I have not witnessed in my time on this campus. While there was not consensus on the solutions, or even the problem for that matter, opponents still offered feedback and constructively added to the discussion. Students were able to manifest their strengths into their respective niches, allowing us to become an effective organization.
That said, I need you to maintain this momentum. Again, there will never be agreement on the solutions at hand, or even the problems, but we must remain cognizant of our place as representatives of students. Everyone will need to utilize their strengths once more. Organizers will need to organize. Policymakers will need to make policy. Lobbyists will need to lobby. Leaders will need to lead.
I do not know what will come out of the budget cycle, but our eyes need to be fixed on the capitol. I doubt that changes to this bill will be easy, but we are advocates for the student body and need to stay committed to that interest. I hope that you will join me in the next few months as we work together to thoughtfully preserve the quality and accessibility of our university.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have questions, concerns, or thoughts.
As I said, the next few months will require vigilance and strong adherence to our duty. This goes for the entirety of campus and anyone who is interested in the future of higher education in the state. Feel free to contact me if you are looking for ways to help.