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"Put students first!": Protesters flock to UWO campus to oppose plans to cut more than 200 employees

Protesters at UWO campus
Posted at 8:24 PM, Oct 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-03 21:24:23-04
  • Students, faculty, and alumni flocked to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus Tuesday afternoon to protest impending staffing cuts of over 200 members of the university's workforce.
  • The staffing cuts come after an announcement that UWO has an $18 million deficit in its budget.
  • Protesters argue that necessary cuts can be made at higher-level positions, and that this decision will put undue stress on employed educators while worsening the quality of students' education.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

I'm Darby McCarthy at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where students, faculty, and alumni have gathered to protest the decision to cut more than 200 faculty and staff members.

"Put students first!"

And in the words of some protesters, failing to put students' futures first.

“Finding out that the institution is running an $18 million deficit was not a stellar way to start the year. And of course, you guys all know the current solution is a layoff of over 200 to 300 staff.”

Tuesday afternoon, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus was flooded with protesters.

“If I were as irresponsible with my department budget as this administration has been with the university's budget, guess what? I wouldn't have a job”

They met to call attention to a recent announcement of significant cuts to staff and increased workloads for instructors that the protesters say will negatively impact the student experience.

“I hope that the chancellor and the upper administration just stop and really hear what we've been saying, and consider making the cuts elsewhere.”

Many of the protesters say that their biggest issue is the lack of transparency.

"As of right now, there are 200 plus people that are on a list of people to be laid off, but it hasn't been shared with the affected people yet."

And they say there has been a lack of accountability from the decision-makers behind the upcoming cuts.

“We still haven't seen administrators take any accountability for how we got into this $18 million mess.”

There is a petition online that has already collected more than 500 signatures outlining the protesters' expectations of the chancellor. A link to that petition is available here.