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Ray Cross
Ray Cross, who was appointed as the new chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension in February, met with a group of Student Government Association members and Vintage Spirits, a club for non-traditional students on Tuesday at University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County. He answered questions regarding Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to split the state's flagship campus from the rest of the UW System.

Steve Greve is concerned about the proposal to split the state's flagship campus from the rest of the University of Wisconsin System.

Greve, a business major at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County, said if the split were to happen, he might consider going to school out of state. "It really has an impact on where I would go to school, especially if UW-Madison does leave the rest of the system," he said. "If their funding continues to be cut, they could easily raise tuition. Then I would have to make the jump out of state."

Greve's comments came on the heels of a lunch with Ray Cross, who became chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension in February.

Cross met Tuesday with about a dozen student government association members and Vintage Spirits, a club for non-traditional students at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County.

"I believe Madison should be part of the system and the flexibility they are seeking should be provided to all of us," he said. "It is very important we stay together as a system with UW-Madison. They should be more sensitive to the needs of the smaller schools. UW-Madison provides students with countless resources. It would be a shame to lose them."

Cross urged students to meet with their legislators in the state Assembly and Senate and tell them to think through this issue carefully.

"The schools in the system cannot afford to lose UW-Madison," he said. "They have a great deal to offer students in Wisconsin and the communities those schools serve."

He said UW-Madison receives some of its financial support from research grants and tuition.

"If they were to separate from the system, they would likely raise tuition," Cross said.

Thomas Pleger, dean of the local campus, agreed.

"The split of UW-Madison from the other schools in the system could create an atmosphere for accelerated tuition increases at UW-Madison," Pleger said. "A tuition hike could make UW-Madison less acceptable to our students who are looking to transfer there."

Pleger said the discussion of a potential split raises the concern of what is shared and what is not between schools in the UW System.

"Right now, the current system has the entire state of Wisconsin in mind," Pleger said. "It allows the UW System to share its resources with one another, administer its programs and degrees and set tuition at each campus. If UW-Madison were to split from the system the result could mean reduced access and fewer shared resources."

UW-Baraboo/Sauk County student Buck Brackman, who wants to attend law school, said he is taking as many classes as he can right now to prepare him for another school in the UW System.

"I have a firm belief that if Madison totally splits from the system there would be a lot of different consequences that people are not thinking about," Brackman said. "There are a lot of different states trying to copy the UW System and the only real gem we have is being pulled apart."