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UW-Superior to cut 15 programs, including many graduate studies
UW-Superior has suspended almost half of its 15 graduate programs because of budget problems. Mike Simonson reports.
UW-Superior is the smallest four year campus in the UW System and has an annual structural deficit of $2.5 million.
UW-Superior Chancellor Renee Wachter says 15 programs are being suspended, another word for cut. They’re also looking at outsourcing things like I-T support, campus safety, custodians, and groundskeepers.
UW-Superior is the only four year campus with a projected deficit by the end of this fiscal year.
“It’s been kind of the nexus of the decline in state support, challenges with the changing demographic of the northern part of Wisconsin, coupled with some budget decisions that maybe weren’t made years ago that come back to haunt you when things get tight.”
One program that was to be suspended was theater, but Wachter pulled that off the chopping block after being contacted by alumni.
AFSCME union field rep Carolyn Kaiser says outsourcing some of the almost 100 union employees would hurt the quality of campus life. She blames the Republican legislature’s cuts and two year tuition freeze. She also thinks UWS may become the model for privatizing throughout the UW System.
“We’re very aware that they have probably tried to open the door, that this is the first four year campus that they are attempting do this at.”
Last week, all 26 grounds and custodian workers were given “at-risk” notices of lay-offs and told their jobs may be privatized. Wessman Arena will be outsourced at the end of this month.
Wachter met with faculty and staff this afternoon. Most of the campus showed up.
“One of the things that’s wonderful about the campus is that there’s a lot of pride, and you could see that pride by the number of people who showed up at the forum. It was a record turnout. We ran out of chairs. People were standing in the back. That means that they care very deeply about the institution.”
Even though 44% of the masters programs will be cut, students already in those programs will be allowed to finish their degrees.
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