EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Student leaders at the University of Wisconsin's 26 campuses are pressing regents to include their input on plans to merge two-year schools with four-year campuses.
The UW System Student Representatives released a statement requesting more student inclusion in announcements like the merger plans. The statewide group is composed of student body presidents and vice presidents from each of the system's campuses, the Leader-Telegram reported .
"Moving forward, we urge the University of Wisconsin System to actively seek student opinion, genuinely address concerns and welcome student participation in the implementation process," the release said.
The Board of Regents has proposed merging University of Wisconsin Colleges with four-year University of Wisconsin institutions.
Nick Webber, the student body vice president of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said the merger announcement was a complete surprise, and the little information he's received has left him with "more questions than answers."
"Students, faculty and even administration have a lot of questions," Webber said Sunday. "I think it's best practice to reach out to major stakeholder groups. I'm sure there were people in higher administration who knew, but we were kind of surprised at this announcement."
If the proposal is approved, the two-year UW-Barron County would merge with the four-year UW-Eau Claire.
Webber said it isn't so much the idea of the plan he and other student leaders are questioning, but rather the communication regarding important restructuring plans.
"Though we understand and welcome bold reform when needed, it is the duty of the University of Wisconsin System to address the immediate needs of institutions and communities directly affected by this proposal," the release said. "Student participation will be key to an implementation that will have a positive effect on our institutions in the present as well as the future."