County board, chancellor discuss move to end in-person classes at UWGB’s Marinette campus | WLUK
MARINETTE (WLUK) — UW-Green Bay’s chancellor had the floor Tuesday at a Marinette County board meeting.
It comes less than two weeks after the school announced it would be suspending in-person classes at the Marinette campus beginning this fall.
Chancellor Michael Alexander’s message was clear — the university is dedicated to continue serving Marinette.
“We would like to make sure that we have a presence up here,” said Alexander.
“They believe they have an idea as to the type of presence they’d like to keep here, he’s (Alexander) explained that to you,” said Marinette Co. Administrator John Lefebvre. “But it’s not going to fill up three buildings.”
Some Marinette County board members, and the public, question the decision to stop in-person classes.
“I understand the national trend with college and all that, but our high schools are in-person for the most part,” said board member Chris Gromala.
“Apparently, the Marinette/Menominee/Peshtigo community is not deserving of a hands-on library and university education that UWGB students in Green Bay are experiencing,” said Wendel Johnson.
But the University is shifting education at the Marinette campus to online.
“I want to hear it from you. What are the long range plans, and do you have them, and can you share that with us?” asked county board member Connie Seefeldt.
“The way education used to work was the university set its schedule, set by the faculty. They would say, ‘I’m teaching this class from 11 to 1 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you had a job 11 to 1 Wednesday and Friday, you don’t get an education, sorry.’ That’s what we’re trying to change at UW-Green Bay,” said Alexander.
Now, county leaders and the University need to decide what’s next for campus buildings.
UW-Green Bay wants to prioritize the use of the Herb Williams Theatre.
“It’s UW-Green Bay that is running that theatre, right? It provides education to the community,” said Alexander.
The UW-Green Bay Marinette campus is owned by the county. The lease with the UW Board of Regents ends in 2042, but could be terminated sooner if both parties agree.
One possible idea the county has is to allow the city of Marinette to take up at least some of the property.
“They are still looking for space for their staff, both the police staff as well as their other staff,” said Lefebvre. “It would allow GB to continue a presence, it would allow that property to remain in the hands of an entity that actually has the capacity, hopefully, to keep that facility running.”
That idea is still being explored, with nothing set in stone. While the board has to weigh options, members all agree they need to hear from the public before making a decision. Their next meeting is being held on Tuesday, Feb. 27.