Since April of this year, Jack Daniels, president of Madison Area Technical College, has been pushing to sell the university's downtown location and invest instead in the school's south Madison campus. Following weeks of debate, MATC's board of trustees voted on this controversial proposal during their May 13 meeting.
With a split 4-4 vote, Daniel's proposal did not pass. Those voting against the proposal expressed concern with the magnitude of the potential change. "If we sell, it's gone forever," said board member Joseph Hasler. "It's a valuable piece of property," he added.
Other downtown residents and MATC instructors, faculty, and students have concerns regarding the proposal, too. They indicate that the campus' downtown location is vital for encouraging students hoping to transfer to the nearby University of Wisconsin - Madison. Further, those opposed to the proposal worry it is underdeveloped and fails to include the perspectives of other city leaders.
Daniels and those supporting his proposal, however, believe that "[t]he 'when' is here for the south Madison community. The most impoverished area of Madison is ripe for our strong intervention. We are in a tremendous position to be the catalyst for change collaborating with our partners in education, training, employability and impacting economic and community development,” Daniels stated.
MATC's current south side campus services over 990 students. 73 percent of these students are minorities, thus making the school's south campus its most diverse one. Many minority and business community leaders believe, like Daniels, that expanding MATC's South Park Street campus is long overdue.
While Daniels' proposal was rejected, the board instead voted to abandon the university's West campus. Daniels intends to develop plans for MATC's downtown and south campuses before returning to the board with a new plan for approval.
[Sources: The Capital Times; Wisconsin State Journal]