Debate over bill continues
February 24, 2011
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If the Budget Repair Bill is approved, UW-Eau Claire will be affected because the pay cuts imposed on faculty will threaten the strength of the UW system, said Student Body President Dylan Jambrek.
“A lot of our faculty are getting offers from other systems because those systems know they pay more than the UW System is going to be able to pay,” Jambrek said. “Our faculty and staff are only here … because they believe in the University of Wisconsin system, and unfortunately the governor is endangering that.”
Political science professor Rodd Freitag said he doesn’t think there would be any immediate impact except for some “slightly poor” faculty and staff.
“I think long-term there might be some greater impact on ability to recruit and retain good faculty,” Freitag said.
Protests against the bill remained strong over the weekend and have continued throughout this week. They have remained in the Capitol building 24 hours a day, even sleeping in the building. Madison area teachers donated $430 for overnight supplies over the weekend, and Ian’s Pizza, a Madison pizza shop, closed for normal business Sunday but remained open to receive calls from as far away as Cairo, Egypt, ordering pizzas to be sent to the protesters.
UW-Madison senior and Washington, D.C. native Harriet Rowan set up an impromptu information booth on the second story of the Capitol building last Wednesday morning and as of Sunday had only left her post for about an hour.
“We decided to set this up and told people to come give us information and we’ll send it out. It’s been really successful,” she said, adding that the protesters had exceeded her expectations of unity and peacefulness. “I couldn’t have expected anything better.”
The bill has not yet been voted on; Wisconsin’s democratic senators fled the state last Thursday to avoid voting and had yet to return as of Wednesday.
“I’m supportive of them (14 state democratic senators) leaving and I know that many people have criticized them because they’re not in Madison,” Jambrek said, “But them leaving is a way of still following the rules but also preventing a vote on this bill.”
The Madison school district closed for four days and reopened for classes Tuesday with Reverend Jesse Jackson greeting Madison East High School students over the loudspeaker in the morning. The loss of school days has been controversial for some; substitute teachers had no choice but to remain home, unpaid, from teaching when the union decided to cancel school to support the protests, according to The Wisconsin State Journal.
At time of print, neither the Senate nor Assembly had voted on the Bill.
“I think we’ve had enough time to debate this,” said Jacob Kampen, Student Senate finance director. “I think it’s time for the Democratic Senators to come back from Illinois and just have a vote on it.”