My freshman year, student-segregated fees paid for my improv group's performances at the Memorial Union Play Circle Theater, but now the ability for that group to perform there may be gone. Next week, the university will draft a new segregated fees policy that could take rights way from student groups. Unless students can protest enough, the Segregated Fee Policy Committee will meet next week and pass a policy that severely limits the Associated Students of Madison's ability to control where segregated fees go and grant money to groups that need it.
My old group will not be the only one affected. This new policy will prevent groups from renting space off-campus, like the MCSC and WISPIRG. The reason these groups rent space off-campus in the first place is because the university does not have room to accommodate all its student organizations. So, if the right to rent space where there is space gets taken away, where will these groups go?
Space is only one issue that will be affected by this policy. The real issue is that the administration is attempting to edit a segregated fees policy that has been upheld by a Supreme Court decision. It is unlawful for that reason, and because of laws in the Wisconsin Legislature, for the university to take away our right to control how and where our money is spent.
Even if you aren't in a student group that is funded by segregated fees, this policy will still affect you as a student. One of the reasons the University of Wisconsin has its culture is from the segregated fees policy. Our autonomy in deciding where our own money goes reflects a spirit that has been present in Madison since the ’60s.
UW junior, journalism