• The Official Website of the Exponent, Wisconsin's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper May 17, 2013

UW-P sucessful without UC

Matthew Ahasay, Opinions Editor
April 18, 2013

What could you do with $50,000?

Every student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville pays three dollars a semester in segregated fees, equating to approximately $50,000, for the advocacy group United Council.  What does UW-Platteville’s student body’s five figure contribution do for the student population, and why should UW-Platteville continue their funding?

To be blunt, nothing and they should not.

According to the United Council website, UC is a non-profit group that represents all students of the UW System to lobby at the state house and board of regents.  They also work on grass root campaigns to better the lives of students.

While the endeavors and resources offered of and by UC are commendable and look great on paper, the question the students of UW-Platteville have to ask themselves is, what has UC done for us?

First and foremost, nothing substantial.  Until the upcoming referendum was proposed to eliminate the UC, there was no direct representation afforded to UW-Platteville or any awareness of its campaigns at all.  Even now, amid the referendum, all UC has done is pass out flyers and run ambiguous ads stating that they work for the students but offering no additional information.

It is important to note that UW-Platteville has not always been a part of the United Council.  Until former student senate president and current graduate student Eli Caywood and his senate worked to bring back UC three years ago, UW-Platteville was not a part of UC, and the campus still grew.

In light of the referendum, Caywood sent a letter to student senate condemning UC.

“Not only has United Council failed to honor what was worked for, they continue to pursue their own agenda with the UW Board of Regents,” Caywood said.

What Caywood is referring to was putting UW student senate presidents and vice presidents in charge of UC’s legislative priorities, and UC has instead taken another path.

So what, then, are we paying UC for?

Essentially, we are paying a student advocacy group to lobby politicians to benefit the UW system.  However, UC is not an effective use of the nearly $50,000 that we pay it.  Its main campaign, the Biennial Budget that works to cap tuition, has not met much success, which calls into question their effectiveness.

Some of what UC strives to accomplish, for example their Queer Justice campaign, can be accomplished on a local level.  Campus organizations such as the Alliance work to change policies to benefit students, and their proposals can be brought up to student senate.

United Council can be an asset to UW students if their voices could be properly heard. As it stands, there has been no attempt by UC to understand what UW-Platteville wants.  Aside from handing out flyers, buttons, e-mails and hats to vote yes for the referendum, UC has been nonexistent on campus.

UW-Platteville does not need to pay for a service that does not work for us.  Despite the good that UC promises, there have been no signs of progress or commitment outside of the past few weeks.  Students are aware of what they want, need and how to accomplish the change they desire.

So I ask you again, what could you do with $50,000?

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