Over the past five years, segregated fees have increased more than 33 percent, with students now forced to dole out $662 to the university in addition to tuition — which has been increasing annually.
In wake of these escalating fees, University of Wisconsin Regent Tom Loftus requested an audit of student segregated fees systemwide last week. After listening to students discuss the process of distributing these fees, the Board of Regents referred the request to a committee to continue questioning those associated with the fee-distribution process.
The committee will report to the board in December regarding the specifics of such an audit.
We applaud Mr. Loftus for bringing this issue to the attention of the regents and hope that an audit of segregated fees will be able to determine the appropriateness of much of the projects and programming wholly dependent on such taxes.
Over the past several years, the segregated-fee-distribution process has been a thorn in the side of many on this campus. And this board often points out how segregated fees are being used wastefully by student organizations.
This board has also called for the Student Services Finance Committee — the organization responsible for distributing allocable fee budgets and making recommendations to non-allocable fee budgets on this campus — to do its part by keeping segregated fees down.
With tuition increasing each year, it is difficult to see students spend their last dollar on programming and projects that are unnecessary or should be paid for with other revenue sources.
Finally, in addition to the audit of segregated fees, we ask the regents to reexamine the criteria used to determine funding eligibility and whether such criteria is indeed constitutional under the Supreme Court's ruling in Southworth.
Although the decision to change the criteria is ultimately in the hands of the administration of this campus, we believe the board is a good starting point to fix a broken process.