Think Progress, by Alice Ollstein, February 2
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) will unveil a budget Tuesday night that aims to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s public universities over the next two years. Students, professors and state lawmakers are already blasting the plan — the deepest cut in state history — and tell ThinkProgress they’re organizing to block its passage.
Ahead of his presentation of the budget to the state legislature, Governor Walker told local right-wing radio host Charlie Sykes that his budget cuts over the past few years have created positive “efficiencies” at the university, and offered: “Maybe it’s time for faculty and staff to start thinking about teaching more classes and doing more work.”
At the same time, Walker is calling for a nearly $500 million new basketball stadium in Milwaukee for the Bucks. Under his plan, the state would take out $200 million in bonds to pay for the arena, and the county and city of Milwaukee would have to chip in as well. The team’s owner has promised some private funding, and Walker claims the taxes the NBA players will pay will make up the difference.
Many university students and workers, including Eleni Schirmer with the Teaching Assistants Association, are outraged that the Governor would propose increasing sports funding while telling universities to shoulder cuts by developing “efficiencies.”
“It shows a fair amount of ignorance about what happens at a university,” she said. “He’s not telling the Bucks: ‘You should become an actually interesting team so people will watch your games.’”