Experiencing the Power of the People Firsthand

Experiencing the Power of the People Firsthand

The April 9 edition of The Pointer went out on newsstands around noon, and at 5:01 p.m. that same day, Chancellor Bernie Patterson sent a campus-wide email stating the elimination of the College of Fine Arts and Communication’s administrative structure is no longer on the table as a budget reduction strategy.

Now I’m in no way saying my article about the situation had that huge of an impact, but have to admit it was a pretty eye-opening “power of the people” moment in my life. Students, faculty and community members spoke out about that proposition, and administrators listened.

Of course, rumors circulating suggest that perhaps this proposal would never have gone through, that it was just a way to call more attention to the issue. It certainly did that, but also reinforced the prominence of the COFAC and united student voice on the issue.

I’m not naïve; I know budget reductions of this size call for drastic measures. I expect that and would argue most students do, too. However, breaking apart and redistributing nationally-recognized programs and upsetting university benefactors is likely not the wisest move for the future.

As a student, the budget challenges have brought me worry. My program, which is responsible for helping me narrow in on a career path (one I can’t imagine ever leaving), is already a track within an emphasis within a major. If the COFAC decision had gone through, it would have jumped through yet another hoop. As a graduating senior, it would have been a dismal way to leave.

As a journalist, however, this situation brought me great opportunities to report on controversial issues of importance and to learn and grow as a reporter. People don’t like to talk about money, students generally don’t like it when their institutions are threatened, faculty feels vulnerable and administrators have to answer difficult questions. I had the opportunity to navigate through each of these situations and bring the public’s thoughts and opinions to light.

For that, I suppose I have Gov. Scott Walker to thank.

 

MyKayla Hilgart

News & Environment Editor

mhilg143@uwsp.edu

 

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