But perhaps there is hope. The Duluth News Tribune ran an AP article
on the committee formed by the UW System President Kevin Reilly to consider what sort of system-wide policies should be in place regarding RAs’ roles in political and religious activities. This, however, is not the hopeful part. All too often, FIRE’s cases stem from just such a policy gone awry. Usually, a single incident occurs, to which the university overreacts. Instead of addressing the one instance, the university institutes a campus-wide, or as in the UW case, system-wide ban that goes above and beyond what the original offense called for. So where is the hope, you ask?
The reason I remain optimistic is that despite UW’s apparent incompetence when it comes to understanding its role with regards to its students’ rights, some of UW’s students seem to understand just fine. From the Duluth News Tribune article:
Melissa Cichantek, student body president at UW-Stevens Point, said she has heard students complain of being pressured to attend Bible studies or weekly Campus Crusade for Christ meetings by their resident assistants. But she said such situations are so rare they are best dealt with individually.
“I worry that an overarching policy would create more problems,” she said.
Indeed. Mark Twain once said that he never let his schooling interfere with his education. It is heartening to see a UW student doing the same.
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire