Budget cuts’ symptoms strain student budget, change commencement features

2014–2015 UW- Fox Campus Dean Rudd speaks at annual commencement event. · UW-Fox Valley file photo












UW-Fox Administration has accommodated the financial burden imposed by the UW-Fox budget with indirect methods such as in the changes to commencement, the lack of funding for the CTA 104 class in future semesters, and the potential loss of Counseling Services funding.

“That’s part of the larger theme that administration has been doing, where they try to find ways to move responsibilities that are traditionally large-scale non-segregated fees to segregated fees. They attempted this with the mental health fee, which is a state mandated fund,” Blake Miller, student government treasurer of the 2015–2016 year, said.

The Counseling Services funding is only the newest among the complications of allocating a $250,000 budget. Student functions like the Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and the athletics department have increasing needs, ones which don’t always fit the demand.

“We allocated something like $70,000 to athletics, for maybe seventy students. That was crazy,” Miller said.

This is despite the increase to segregated fees which has been seen this year. This move was made by the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee in preparation for the increased costs, aware that certain areas would receive cuts.

Not the least of these is commencement. In past years, the event was videotaped and livestreamed, allowing family who could not attend to still view the event. It featured extensive brochures, and time was taken during the proceedings to recognize staff and teacher of the year.

Previously, Student Services coordinated the commencement event, but due to personnel changes, these features will not be included on account of not being organized in time.

“Central Administration failed to find someone to organize it. It’s not lack of funding, it’s lack of organization. It’s because of budget cuts that we had to cut the previous individual, but in large part is the failure of the administration to find someone new to do it,” Miller said.

At the beginning of the semester, Regional Executive Officer and Dean Rudd called for patience and tolerance toward the regionalization model which has prompted the difficulties in question, saying that the system was clunky, but asserting its continuing role in instruction.

“No budget reductions were made to instructional programs. We made a decision early on that we would not touch the number of professors that we have teaching, because we are primarily a teaching institution and teaching is our excellence,” Rudd said.

Provost Greg Lampe backed up this claim.

“We were careful, thoughtful and deliberative in our approach to the budget reductions, and we had our experts from across the institution inform and guide the planning and implementation processes throughout our budget reduction work,” Lampe said.

The administration asks for patience and tolerance as the campus adopts to these new changes, but when their method of adapting involves, albeit indirectly, cutting classes, placing the burden of state- mandated funds on students, not recognizing their excellent faculty and an inability to plan for an event like commencement, one has to question the capability of the campus to continue providing the quality of education students pay for.