FIRE protested the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s (UWEC) Student Senate’s decision to withhold student fee funding from any student organization that espouses a “particular ideological, religious, or partisan viewpoint.” The rule, passed in March of 2005, came after a controversy regarding the approval of a new student magazine, The Flip Side, in December of 2004. A student senator was quoted in UWEC’s The Spectator as saying “We want to exclude any groups that would be religious in nature, political in nature or anything that would have a political agenda [from being funded through student segregated fees].” FIRE wrote Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson in opposition to the funding ban stating, “UWEC, as a public institution of higher education, cannot and must not forbid student organizations from determining their mission and membership based on particular ideological, religious, or political viewpoints, and must not deny them funding if they organize events expressing those viewpoints.” FIRE received a response from the UW system’s general counsel, who assured FIRE that the policy, which was not yet in effect, would be reviewed under relevant case law.
May 10, 2005
A civil-liberties group says the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is censoring the political and religious expression of students. That action, says the group, defies the First Amendment. The Student Senate at UW-Eau Claire recently decided to bar the use of student fees to fund any student-organized activity that promotes a “particular ideological, religious, or partisan viewpoint.” In that March 2005 action, the student government amended the school’s “Organized Activity Funding Policy,” and placed that policy directly at odds with federal law and rulings in Supreme Court cases such as Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (1995) and Board of Regents v. […]» Read More
May 3, 2005
In a controversial move, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Student Senate members passed legislation concerning student-funded activities that have come under fire from the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The legislation was a March 7 amendment to UWEC’s Organized Activity Funding Policy, which clarifies funding activities for the Student Senate. According to the new amendment, which was posted on FIRE’s website, “[Student activities] shall not endorse a particular ideological, religious or partisan viewpoint.” However, FIRE argues the policy is a breach of the Southworth v. Board of Regents Supreme Court case, which argues all funds distributed by student governing […]» Read More