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Schoenfeld, Clay (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 48, Number 8 (May 1947)

Berge, John
Which way, Wisconsin?,   p. 22


Page 22


* * *aou~d~e#%1/he 41hde ed1ý /1e :Vie                           
                  * W
-Which
Way,
Wisconsin?
   LAST SEPTEMBER an army of 18,600 students
stormed the Hill at Madison. Over 5,000 more en-
rolled at Extension Centers throughout the state.
   Each month since then we have used a large
section of the Wisconsin Alumnus to tell you about
the emergency measures developed by the Univer-
sity to handle this record enrollment; to keep you
posted on your University's needs and problems.
  First among these needs, of course, is a budget
large enough to take care of this vast army of
students.
   Last month the Regents appeared before the
joint committee on finance of the Legislature and
asked for $20,392,972 to operate and maintain the
University of Wisconsin during the 1947-49 bien-
nium. This increase from the $18,300,000 reported
in last month's issue is due merely to a change in
the state accounting system.
  Backing up their request with indisputable facts,
the Regents made it crystal clear that the Univer-
sity needs ten million dollars a year if it is to
carry on its program of teaching, research, and
public service; if Wisconsin is to keep faith with
the thousands of students who left the campus to
do their full share to win World War II. Thou-
sands of these Fighting Badgers are now back on
the campus to complete their education.
  There are no ifs or buts in this problem; no
guess-work about enrollment for the next two
years. There are enough students enrolled in the
University and its Extension Centers right now
to jam campus classrooms to capacity for the next
two years. What will happen after 1949 is any-
body's guess, but that, fortunately, is a problem
for the 1949 Legislature to worry about.
  Right now the problem before the Legislature
is this: finding sufficient funds to take care of the
University's record enrollment for the next two
years-the 1947-49 biennium. In spite of over-
crowded conditions, a shortage of teachers, and
classes in Quonset huts and temporary structures,
the University will do a good job in this emergency
if it gets the funds requested by the Regents.
  BUT suppose this request is not granted. Sup-
pose the Legislature decides that the state can't
afford to invest ten million dollars a year to oper-
ate and maintain its University. What happens
then?
  One thing and only one thing can happen: Uni-
versity activities and services must be cut to fit
the budget.
  University of Wisconsin scientists doubled the
production rate for penicillin, but even President
Fred can't make one dollar do the work of two. If
the University budget is cut, President Fred and
the Regents must cut the suit to fit the cloth. Here
are some of the ways this can be done.
  1. Limit enrollments. This is drastic medicine in
a tax-supported institution. As President Fred has
repeatedly said, "The University does not feel she
can say 'no' to a single qualified student seeking
22
instruction." However, limitation of enrollment is
clearly one way of operating under a reduced
budget.
   2. Limit salaries and run the University with a
 second-rate faculty. Wisconsin's leadership among
 American universities today is largely due to an
 outstanding faculty.
   So far Wisconsin has been able to keep most of
 these people, even though Wisconsin salaries are
 lower than those paid by our neighbor states. If
 the University budget is cut, then salaries must
 remain at this low level or may even have to be
 cut-depending on'the extent to which the budget
 is reduced. Result--Wisconsin would quickly lose
 many of her key faculty members and would soon
 be operating with a second-rate faculty.
   3. Reduce the University's research budget. Ever
 since Professor Babcock invented his famous milk
 tester, Wisconsin research has set the pace for
 American universities in many fields: penicillin-
 biochemistry and nutrition-cancer-new crop va-
 rieties-atomic energy-radio and radar. The
 work of Daniels, Elvehjem, Steenbock and their,
 workers is recognized in all corners of the. world.
   Of course this work can be reduced-but at a
 dreadful price! Every penny saved today would
 cost the state dollars tomorrow. Wisconsin cannot
 afford to be penny wise and pound foolish in this
 research program.
 4. Cut out some state-wide service. Drastic prun-
 ing could save a million dollars or more by cutting
 out some of the state-wide services now performed
 by the University. For example: the Extension
 Division, radio station WHA, the Hygienic Labora-
 tory, apple insect research,. dairy cattle research,
 tobacco investigation, cancer research, rural elec-
 trification, farm safety program, canning industry
 research-and many other public service activities
 of the University.
   If Wisconsin taxpayers want these services elim-
inated, well and good. However, since thousands of
taxpayers are now using these services profitably,
we must not be surprised to hear loud howls and
protests from all over the state if and when these
services are curtailed or eliminated.
   In the final analysis, it boils down to this basic
question: what kind of a University do the people
of Wisconsin want?
  If Wisconsin people want a second-rate institu-
tion-if they decide that a second-rate University
is good enough for Wisconsin's young men and
'women-then slashing the Regents' requests is the
thing to do.
   If Wisconsin people want a good university,
funds must be provided to operate and maintain
a good university. It costs money to operate a good
university, just as it costs money to operate a good
high school, a good church, or a good library. A
good university is a sound investment for Wis-
consin and its citizens.--JOHN BERGE.
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