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Graduate's View: There have to be other reasons for cuts at UWS

At one time I was a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Superior. But after watching UWS privatize and devalue workers and students alike, I'm feeling disappointed.

UWS, despite being small, always impressed me with its diversity, beauty, and, of course, the fantastic education I received. By choosing to cut academic programs ("UWS suspends several programs," Nov. 1), UWS is selling itself short and presenting itself as less valuable than it really is.

When potential students are looking for a school, the first thing they do is find the website link to available majors and begin browsing until seeing something they like, the major that hits home. Students who aren't as sure about their degree look for a school that has general education and then a variety of majors that appeal to them. By cutting programs, UWS is turning away potential students. In the long run, these program cuts will amount to more money lost than saved.

Of course, despite budget issues, UWS claims these program cuts aren't about money; they're about the welfare of their first-generation college students who are "overwhelmed" by the variety of programs the school has to offer.

As a first-generation student, I am insulted the university would think I am any less capable than anyone else of making an informed decision about what I want to do with my life.

I chose my degree — communicating arts with a philosophy minor — directly out of high school. I loved getting my education, and now I love my career. First-generation students are just as informed as the children of graduates. Students don't feel any more overwhelmed looking at a long list of program options than they do eating at a buffet.

I'm sure UWS administration has real reasons for cutting programs. It was wrong and unwise to use first-generation students, who make up nearly half the enrollment, as the scapegoat. Instead of blaming student intelligence for program cuts, UWS should be honest and upfront and tell us the real reason behind the program cuts.

I urge UWS to please reinstate these valuable programs. These programs are the lifeblood of the school and of the future of the students.

Stephanie Ukkola of Tower was graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in communicating arts and a minor in philosophy. She’s now a staff writer for the Timberjay newspaper.