The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Regents approve tuition hike

The UW System Board of Regents voted Friday 14-2 in favor of approving the Blugold Commitment.

The approval allows UW-Eau Claire to increase tuition $1,200, to be phased in over four years. However, an amendment was passed with that requires Eau Claire to come back by May with more specific information about where the money will go.

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich said he was gratified with the outcome of the Regent meeting.

“I am really satisfied in the sense that this was a lot of work by a lot of people,” Levin-Stankevich said. “I was pleased that all the work has amounted to a successful proposal.”

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On Thursday, Eau Claire students and faculty traveled to Madison, where the meeting was held, to speak about the tuition increase. Levin-Stankevich spoke in favor of the Commitment as a faculty representative. Students who were in favor of it and spoke were Student Body President Michael Umhoefer, Student Body Vice President Amber Bretl and Treasurer and Chief of Staff Adam Sorelle.

The Chancellor gave an overview of what the Commitment is about, and Umhoefer followed up speaking about the process they went through.

“I spoke about how we got to where we were,” Umhoefer said. “The survey, the senate vote and the rescind.”

Speaking in opposition of the Commitment were Sen. Collin Hawkins and former Intergovernmental Affairs Director Armon Tabrizi. They expressed their concerns about student support and lack of specifics on where the money is going, Umhoefer said.

Regent John Drew said there was an abundance of information presented to the board.

“There was a lot of discussion and students from the campus did a great job of presenting both sides of the issue,” Drew said. “There was an extensive discussion on the issue.”

Umhoefer said specific questions were asked regarding the student survey results, how students have been involved overall, how the amount of increase was arrived at and why there aren’t more details about where the money will go.

One of only two student Regents, Aaron Wingad, attends UW-Eau Claire and was the person who introduced the amendment to come back with a more detailed proposal in May. That amendment was passed unanimously. The proposal will be non-binding and allow the Regents to decide which aspects they like and don’t like, Umhoefer said.

Wingad said he wanted the amendment to help ease issues students had with the Commitment.

“I think it was crucial that we be responsive to student concerns,” Wingad said. “I think that this was a good compromise to be able to address the concerns put forth by the student body and senators on a very broad, unspecified proposal.”

Another amendment was then proposed to move the entire approval until May, which was turned down, and switched to April. The only person who voted in favor of it was the Regent who introduced it.

Drew said he thinks that all of the members of the board and he voted with the best intentions of the campus in mind.

“I think it ultimately passed because the majority of the Regents thought it was the right thing for the campus and for the rest of the UW System,” Drew said.

Umhoefer is happy to start moving forward with the project and is satisfied with how things have unfolded.

“I am very pleased that it worked out the way that it did, and the students who wanted more detail will get it,” Umhoefer said. “It is the biggest proposal ever passed in the history of the UW System and it feels pretty good.”

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Regents approve tuition hike