Gov. Scott Walker has done it again. This man continues to attack the University of Wisconsin System, interfering with business that should not be messed with. If the $250 million in cuts to the UW System in the 2015 budget weren’t enough, he now wants the UW System to allow students to opt out of allocable segregated fees, which will have detrimental effects on our schools.
If this happens, many important student organizations and services will lose all funding. On top of that, an opt out would also mean the free bus passes Associated Students of Madison provide will no longer be free.
UW encourages students to get involved, explore their options and take advantage of the many student organizations on campus. Getting involved on campus is important for any student’s success. What if there were no orgs left to join?
Walker’s budget proposal decreases in-state tuition, raises student concernsGov. Scott Walker announced Tuesday his long-anticipated budget proposal for the University of Wisconsin System, which includes a 5 percent Read…
Students only pay about $89 per year in allocable fees. When everyone pays this as part of their tuition, the money is available to fund orgs, which are then available for all students to join as they please.
Student government allocates these fees to different clubs and services on campus. It’s important to note that under the law, student government must have a neutral viewpoint, regardless of personal political leanings, when allocating funds. This way, the funds are distributed to benefit students from all backgrounds.
Allocable fees also provide valuable services to those who need them the most. This includes Greater University Tutoring Service, a free campus tutoring service that gives help to any student who needs it, and the Rape Crisis Center, which provides services to victims of sexual assault. The Rape Crisis Center would have to reduce the services it provides to students if they lost funding. And let’s not forget the Open Pantry, a new food pantry on campus that prevents low-income students from going hungry.
Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, who supports Walker’s plan, said, “A significant number of students receive no benefit from these programs.”
Just because most students are lucky enough to not be victims of sexual assault or do not go hungry does not mean there aren’t students who depend on these services. Most students who benefit from the services of GUTS, the Rape Crisis Center and Open Pantry never plan on needing their help.
Last time I checked, one in four women experience sexual assault while in college. Bringing it closer to home, there were 325 reported sexual assaults at UW last year. If UW loses funds for services like the Rape Crisis Center and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, where are those 325 — or more — individuals to go?
An opt out will also take away free bus passes, which are funded by allocable segregated fees and help students get around our 936-acre campus. The passes also provide access to buses that go all around the Madison area, which helps students get to off-campus housing, their jobs and other places. According to ASM, 68 percent of students at UW picked up a bus pass last semester. Student bus passes cost $55.48 and if they aren’t free, more than two-thirds of students who use bus passes will have to pay for this out of pocket.
Organizations affected by the opt out would also include Working Class Student Union, Badger Catholic, VETS and Sex Out Loud, as well as support for programming among other registered student organizations.
So, Walker, we know by now you clearly do not have education high on your list of priorities. For someone who didn’t even graduate from college, you certainly think you know what’s best for our universities. By allowing students to opt out of allocable segregated fees, you are opening the floodgate to many negative implications.
Claudia Koechell ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in history and political science.