Students react to UW-Platteville ending degree courses in Richland

“I was definitely surprised and a little disappointed,” said sophomore Jackson Kinney.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:45 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - University of Wisconsin System President Jay Rothman ordered UW-Platteville’s interim chancellor Tuesday to stop offering degree programs at the school’s Richland campus in the face of declining enrollment. For students attending the school, the news is both surprising and disappointing.

“I was definitely surprised and a little disappointed,” said sophomore Jackson Kinney. “My grandma went to school here in the 60s, and my dad went to school here in the 90s, so seeing it close after all these years is really sad to see.”

Rothman sent a letter to UW-Platteville interim Chancellor Tammy Evetovich saying only 60 students are currently pursuing degrees at the Richland campus, and starting next academic year, all degree programs offered at the branch campus will move to the main campus in Platteville, over 50 miles south of the Richland campus.

He ordered Evetovich to develop a plan by Jan. 15 to transition current students to the Platteville campus or the branch Baraboo campus. He called for her to make “reasonable arrangements” for them, suggesting they could continue to pay Richland tuition levels if they transfer to Platteville or another UW System school. He added that the plan should also address faculty and staff but didn’t elaborate.

Students on campus voiced concerns for classmates who live with family in the area and what moving could mean for them. Despite the promise of low tuition, sophomore Jake Steele says the move could mean paying for commutes or new housing.

“I have some freshmen and some other friends that I knew, and this is a big problem for them,” said Steele.

Kinney added that the speed of the announcement took him and others at the school by surprise.

“I was able to talk a little with some faculty, and we had heard that this might be happening and that there was talk of closing the campus if the enrollment hasn’t gone up for next year, but we were not expecting it this soon, it was really abrupt,” said Kinney.

Rothman also said the plan should include ideas for maintaining a presence at the Richland campus, suggesting the school could offer enrichment programs and courses for adult learners or serve other, broader community needs.

“The decision to request the plans as outlined above was not an easy one for obvious reasons, but I ultimately concluded that the status quo is no longer sustainable,” Rothman said in the letter.

The Richland campus was once one of the system’s 13 stand-alone, two-year schools.

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