RICHLAND CENTER, Wis. (WKBT) — UW-Richland students plan to deliver a petition to UW System President Jay Rothman Thursday asking to keep their campus open.
In November, Rothman directed staff at UW-Richland’s parent university, UW-Platteville, to develop a plan to stop in-person instruction at UW-Richland because only roughly 60 students were enrolled there. That number was 373 in 2012. Petitioners blame “deep budget cuts” to UW-Richland for that drop in enrollment.
“The campus budget has been cut 55% since 2012, and that doesn’t include inflation,” said Linda Gentes, a County Board Supervisor and former faculty member of UW-Richland. “We’ve lost our dean, most professors, our international coordinator, our continuing education program, and certainly most damaging, our recruiter.”
Others blame what they say is a strained relationship with the parent university in Platteville.
“We never heard a pitch for UW-Richland in my time at Highland High School,” said Brody Smith, a UW-Richland freshman. “There was a recruiter for UW-Platteville, but they didn’t mention UW-Richland. If my peers had known about this small-town campus, I know I wouldn’t have been the only Highland student here.”
The students’ collected 1400 signatures for their petition, asking Governor Evers, State Senator Marklein, Assemblyman Kurtz, and President Rothman to meet with the community to share ideas about how the UW-Richland campus can be saved.
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