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Milwaukee students sit in to protest cuts

By staff |
May 9, 2015
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 Students sit-in at Chancellor Mark Mone's office.
Students sit-in at Chancellor Mark Mone's office. (Fight Back! News/Joe Brusky)

Milwaukee, WI - Eight students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee staged a sit-in at Chancellor Mark Mone's office in Chapman Hall, May 7. After several failed attempts to meet with the chancellor, the students occupied his office and demanded that the chancellor meet with them, presenting a list of demands including that the chancellor both oppose the proposed $300 million budget cut to the UW system as unnecessary and political in nature, as well as pledge to cut administration salaries before cutting student services, academics or laying off faculty and staff.

Over 20 students and faculty members picketed and rallied outside of Chapman Hall in solidarity with the students sitting in. The students inside occupied the office for over two hours, until Chancellor Mone agreed to meet with the students at a Faculty Senate meeting which was being held at the same time. The students sent Andrew Urban of Progressive Students of Milwaukee (PSM) to represent them and present their demands as they continued to occupy the office.

At the Faculty Senate meeting, Chancellor Mone publicly refused to concede to either of the students demands. “With his statements today, Mone has demonstrated the disconnect between the student body and the administration,” said Tyler Evans, one of the participants of the sit-in and a member of Youth Empowered in the Struggle.

Upon hearing the news of Chancellor Mone's refusal to defend students and faculty from the cuts, the students left Chapman Hall where they then united with the rally outside. “We forced the chancellor into taking a public stance, a stance that places the interests of the administration above the interests of students and workers alike,” declared Will Guenthner, another participant of the sit-in and a member of PSM.

UWM's Budget Planning Task Force has recommended cutting $4.7 million to university administration while cutting a total of $18 million from academic and student affairs. Chancellor Mone's current salary is $340,000 a year.

The sit-in and rally was organized by members of Progressive Students of Milwaukee, Youth Empowered in the Struggle and the UW Coalition of Progressive Organizations.