UW-Madison's chancellor is in the midst of spreading the good word about her Initiative for Undergraduates. On the surface, much of the campus seems supportive.
In private, it's a different story. I received nearly 30 unsolicited emails from students today. Here, is an excerpt from one:
"I went to the Madison Initiative Forum tonight...[The Chancellor] said early in the forum that students should claim independence from their parents (to get financial aid)-- not even considering the tax implications for the parents. One of the administrators walking around during the small groups part heard my group talking about that and got her to correct her statement....There weren't many students present and most of them seemed opposed to the plan. Engineering students were especially vocal on account of their already having to pay differential tuition and all of the faculty benefits going to Letters & Sciences. A lot of people were also skeptical that their additional funds would go to hiring new faculty that would actually interact with undergrads. I came away from the Forum less impressed with the proposal..."
I think the voices of students are quite important in this discussion, and I urge those for the program and those against to make their opinions heard. This is, after all, one of the last remaining universities of the people.
Keeping you posted....
BACKGROUND: "Sifting and Winnowing"