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Gov.Scott Walker’s budget proposal, which was released earlier this week, cuts the UW System budget by $300 million and includes changes to the UW System’s mission statement.

UW-Parkside student Dustin Beth, a business owner and a member of the college Republicans, spoke out against Walker’s proposal.

“As someone who believes in small government and fiscal responsibility, I appreciate our Governor’s efforts to spend the taxpayers’ money wisely,” he said. “However I think it would be more wise to find other areas in which to reduce spending given that prudent investment in education holds high returns for our state.”

A number of UW System students are taking issue with the proposed budget cuts. Members of the United Council Students plan to organize and speak out against the cuts during the Legislative Action Council Feb. 20 through Feb. 25.

After receiving criticism that he tried to change the mission statement of the University of Wisconsin System, Walker said in a statement that there “is no debate over the principles contained within the Wisconsin Idea.”

The Wisconsin Idea is the state’s mission statement for the public university system, which has been in place for over a century.

According to a story in the Journal Sentinel: “The governor made the UW System’s mission to ‘meet the state’s workforce needs.’ He also proposed striking language about public service and improving the human condition, and deleting the phrase: “Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.”

But Walker said the budget proposal seeks to strengthen the UW System by making it “more efficient, more effective, and more accountable to taxpayers, and tried to distance himself from the criticism over the mission statement.

“Clearly, changing the Wisconsin Idea serves no purpose.,” Walker said. “That is why I made it clear on Wednesday that we would not change it in the budget.  It is not a change of heart.  It was a simple miscommunication  between the natural back and forth of this process.”

UW System president Ray Cross issued the following statement:

“The Wisconsin Idea is embedded in our DNA. It is so much more than words on a page. It is the reason the UW System exists. It defines us and forever will distinguish us as a great, public university. Wisconsin must not abandon this core principle and value. We will work to preserve the Wisconsin Idea in every form.”

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.