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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Students show concern regarding seg fee policies

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A large and passionate crowd of
University of Wisconsin students and campus community members voiced
their concerns in an open forum Monday to discuss proposed changes to
the student segregated fee policy — a fee included in all students'

The majority of students at the meeting
represented Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group, with
more than 20 individuals personally addressing the forum panel.


The Student Rights Campaign, Student
Services Finance Committee, Associated Students of Madison interns
and multiple other campus organizations were also represented by
speakers at the forum.

Dean of Students Lori Berquam,
Associate Deans Kevin Helmkamp and Argyle Wade,
Assistant Dean Drew Wielgus, Student Services Finance Committee Chair
Alex Gallagher and Associated Students of Madison Chair Gestina
Sewell served as the panel and received input regarding the proposed
policy changes.

Many students were especially concerned
about a provision that would prohibit student organizations from
paying off-campus rent and hiring non-university professional staff

"In the last few weeks, I've
probably been spending 10 or 15 hours a week in our office and the
same amount of time with our paid staff people," WISPIRG intern
Andrew Sellers said. "Without these people we wouldn't be able to
do the things that we do on the scale that we can."

Another issue of contention was the
process by which the new policy changes were created, including the
formation of the UW System Allocable Segregated Fee Policy Review
Committee and decisions regarding committee members.

"Procedurally, the way in which this
policy was created I think irks a lot of students here," said ASM
Shared Governance Committee Chair Jeff Wright. "It appears as
though the authority of students has been overstepped in the process
from the very beginning."

Still, other speakers argued that the
current segregated fee policy already functions well.

"No need for these changes exists —
students have effectively maintained this system for years," said
SSFC Secretary Kurt Gosselin. "It would be a detriment to the
education of students involved in this system to remove this power
that's been rightfully and lawfully delegated to their hands."

Berquam empathized with the students'
search for explanations to the policy changes.

"In terms of where the policy ends up
being really is going to be relegated to the campuses to figure out
their internal process," said Berquam. "This is the first step,
but I think there has to be individual campus policies as well."

In response to questions regarding the
hiring of non-university employees, Helmkamp explained prohibiting
this is a measure of risk management because the university is then
responsible for that employee.

Despite heated discussion, Helmkamp was
optimistic about the outcome of the open forum.

"I thought it was excellent," said
Helmkamp, adding the panel already had a sense of students'
opinions on the issue. "The forum clearly reaffirmed that
understanding of where we've been the last month and a half."

Gallagher said he thought this meeting
would be helpful for officials within the Offices of the Dean of
Students and would demonstrate many students have concerns about
segregated fees.

"Students honestly and genuinely feel
that changes in this policy will have a dramatic effect on segregated
fee expenditures," Gallagher said.

WISPIRG Chair Jeff Rolling had mixed
feelings about the forum, saying it was long overdue.

"I think it was in a lot of ways not
surprising," he said. "They didn't really answer the questions
directly. Hopefully they took what all the students had to say and
feel at least a little bit of pressure from the students to speak on
behalf of us."

Although a draft of the proposed
segregated fee policy changes were sent to each UW System school for
feedback, Berquam said UW-Madison was the only school that had a
public forum.

Input from the forum will be relayed to
the UW System Allocable Segregated Fee Policy Review Committee that
meets for a fourth and final time today.

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