‘We were blindsided’: UW-Richland community says campus closure is about more than low enrollment

RICHLAND CENTER (WKOW) — Ever since UW System President Jay Rothman announced in November that the UW-Platteville at Richland (UW-Richland) campus would be shutting down in July, the small campus community has been fighting to keep it open.

Rothman cited low enrollment numbers for the campus’ closure, but students and local leaders point to other problems in the campus’ recent history.

UW-Richland students Jackson Kinney, Avery Wilson, Maddie Yoose and Haley Zumach all sat down with 27 News on Wednesday to discuss their concerns.

All of them couldn’t believe the news when they received the announcement in their email the day before Thanksgiving.

“I had to ask a bunch of people and like ‘Is this legit, that can’t be real,” Zumach said.

Wilson said the whole campus was “blindsided” by the closure and its timing around Thanksgiving.

For Yoose, it was even more tragic, as she’s the third in her family to attend the campus.

“It was very devastating to me, because my mom and my sister went here,” Yoose said. “And they’ve always encouraged it. It’s kind of like a family tradition in a way.”

System President Jay Rothman attributed the closure to low enrollment, after the campus’ student population declined from more than 370 students in 2012 to just 58 today.

Rothman says it’s a part of a national trend at 2-year colleges and technical schools.

“The trends that Richland has experienced are trends that community colleges and two-year colleges across the country are seeing,”