Keep public universities public

The U.S. economy demands highly skilled workers, new ideas and the public subsidy of both. Minnesotans clearly understand âÄî they lead the country in high school diploma percentages.

Unfortunately, the governor to the east, a college dropout himself, does not. Scott Walker, Republican governor of Wisconsin, has found himself in hot water this week as tens of thousands protest in and around the Capitol building in Madison.

The protests are the result of outrage over WalkerâÄôs proposed budget adjustment bill which blocks negotiations with public-sector unions.

The component of WalkerâÄôs bill that deserves our attention as students is the proposal to separate University of Wisconsin-Madison from the UW system. This proposal is a step toward the quasi-privatization of a public entity and would lead to higher tuition for college students statewide. Madison students could see their tuition rise as much as 26 percent in just two years.

However much the Badgers might be despised here at the University of Minnesota, itâÄôs important we keep an eye on this issue so that we donâÄôt end up in a similar fiasco. MinnesotaâÄôs economy cannot afford a lack of public investment in higher education, and I hope we will never see such a rampant assault on public education and the middle class in the great state of Minnesota.

In the meantime, letâÄôs ask Minnesota legislators to live up to the standards set by decades of academic excellence and support for higher education. Buses to the Capitol in St. Paul leave Coffman Union at 10 a.m. Tuesday for the Rally to Restore Affordability.