Billed as a listening session, lawmakers State Senator Howard Marklein and Assembly Representative Tony Kurtz heard from about 25 citizens in the city’s Municipal Building meeting room Monday morning.
More than 100 citizens filled to overflowed the room sitting and standing, and paramount in their concerns was the fate of the UW Richland Campus - or UWP Richland, which has been targeted for a reduced role in the system. In November UW System President Jay Rothman said the campus would stop conducting in-person classes for degree programs starting July 1. But late last week, Platteville administrators proposed a plan that would make the campus unneeded and unnecessary.
While some speakers addressed redistricting reform, a proposed tax change and the use of the state’s multi-billion dollar surplus with Joint Finance Committee chairman Marklein, spending a small portion of it to revive the campus was seen as one use.
Kathy Fry expressed concerns about how the decisions were made to prevent the Richland campus from recruiting students to attend and take the campus’ program for international students elsewhere.
Campus student Jake Steele questioned where does he go to continue his education now because the campus enabled him within his means.
Former State Senator Dale Schultz questioned Marklein regarding an assertion that the decision regarding the campus was a “done deal” and he was unable to do anything about it. He also sought to understand how Marklein was going to use his posiiton to “prioritize funding for the campus: and asked him to prioritize his allegiance to his constituents, the Republican caucus, the Republican political party or the UW System and Board of Regents.
Schultz’ wife Rachel, a former district administrator in the Richland School District, pointed out how the local school district worked with the Richland Campus with classes to assist students to further their education.
Dorothy Thompson, who formerly worked at the Richland Campus, questioned how the state could provide millions for an arena and yet nothing for the Roadrunner gym.
“At least they know how we stand,” said one person leaving following the session.