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UW System closing Richland campus, just 60 students enrolled

The University of Wisconsin is all but closing one of its smallest campuses.

UW President Jay Rothman said in a letter Tuesday the UW-Platteville will end all in-person classes at its Richland campus.

Rothman ordered Platteville’s chancellor to end the degree program at the Richland campus because only 60 students are taking classes there right now.

“While the University of Wisconsin System remains committed to the branch campuses and to providing as broad of access for students as possible, there comes a time when financial pressure and low enrollment makes in-person degree level academic instruction no longer tenable,” Rothman wrote in his letter.

Next year the 60 Richland students will be transitioned to either the Platteville or Baraboo campuses.

No one is saying what will happen to the faculty and staff members teaching at the Richland campus.

And Rothman isn’t saying if this will be the last or only small UW campus to close.

“Each of the branch campuses have a different strategy about what it’s going to look like going forward,” Rothman said earlier in the week. “But we’ve got to address [enrollment], and we have to have the branch campuses be sustainable in the long run.”

The UW System says only the main campus in Madison, as well as the campuses in Green Bay and Superior added students this fall. The rest either saw enrollment flatline or drop.

Sen, Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, who represents the Richland area said the loss of classes at the campus will hurt the community.

“I am saddened to hear that the UW Board of Regents has decided to end in person instruction at UW Richland. I know this was a difficult decision that they have been discussing for quite some time,” Marklein said in a statement. “There is no doubt that this is a major change for our community. The campus has been a hub of activity and learning for many, many years. I appreciate the UW’s efforts to provide options for those affected and ideas for ways to fill in the gaps that this departure will leave in Richland County.”

UW officials say they may use the Richland campus as an outreach center, or offer adult education and enrichment classes there in the future. But nothing is certain.

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