4.21.2006

Mark Green Slams Seg. Fee Silliness

And rightfully so.

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Green hit the nail on the head today, raising concerns about selective treatment of the UW Roman Catholic Foundation in the seg. fee process:
In a letter to Chancellor John Wiley dated April 20, Green told the chancellor he was concerned over what “appears to be discrimination” against the religiously affiliated student organization.

“I don’t want to see the University of Wisconsin Roman Catholic Foundation discriminated against because of its faith,” Green said in a phone interview Thursday, “even if the chancellor is using some other excuse for denial of funds.”

Green’s letter comes in the wake of Wiley returning the proposed segregated-fee budget to the Associated Students of Madison last week for reconsideration, with most of his recommended changes revolving around UWRCF.
Bravo to Mr. Green for his awareness of student issues; he hit a similar home run in his famous "Planet Madison" speech, which I attended, when he condemned the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate for raising its own student fees to supplement professor pay and took a hard line on seg. fees.

Green understands the value of the UW System, but he demands that it live up to higher standards. He seems to recognize that student fees are our taxes and that a continued increase represents an impediment to affordable higher education.

The treatment of UWRCF in the last eight months certainly smacks of religious discrimination. Chancellor John Wiley's excuses don't hold much water:
“[S]tate monies cannot be used to support religious activities, per the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Ok...then you're against the Southworth decision, Mr. Chancellor - and potentially the entire seg. fee system as we know it.
"Wiley added in his letter that UWRCF was ineligible for funding since it was not a registered student organization..."
Well, if you check the Student Org. Office list of current Registered Student Orgs, neither is the LGBT Campus Center or the Tenant Resource Center, two groups that have received and will continue to receive seg. fees.
"and {UWRCF} could not receive funding for its maintenance and utilities because it was located at a “non-university” facility."
Alright, then JCC, Multicultural Student Coalition, Sex Out Loud, and CFACT, among others, who rent space in "non-university" facilities should not be funded either. Whether a group gets funding for rent or maintainence of its own facility, it shouldn't matter - the funds are going to provide a continuing space to utilize.

Please note, however, that all of my commentary is made under the umbrella assumption that we should do away with seg. fees and institute an opt-in system where individuals choose what superfluous groups they want to fund while the administration picks up funding of the few absolutely necessary services out of tuition dollars.

Green, though, should be commended for calling out the Chancellor's weak excuses for playing favorites.