University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire: Unconstitutional Student Fee Funding Amendment
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.
- "Lecture to Address Student Rights at UWEC and Beyond," January 25, 2006
- "University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire Wages Campaign Against Student Viewpoints," April 27, 2005: The University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC) Student Senate has amended its rules to forbid any student-organized activity that promotes a “particular ideological, religious, or partisan viewpoint” from receiving student-fee funding. This new policy directly contradicts the university’s First Amendment obligation to distribute student funds regardless of viewpoint and violates the rights of all UWEC students.
- "Amendment to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Organized Activity Funding Policy, March 7, 2005," April 27, 2005
- "Letter from University of Wisconsin General Counsel Patricia Brady to FIRE, April 25, 2005," April 25, 2005
- "FIRE Letter to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson, April 6, 2005," April 6, 2005
- "Letter from University of Wisconsin General Counsel Patricia Brady to FIRE, January 13, 2005," January 13, 2005
- "FIRE Letter to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Chancellor Donald Mash, December 16, 2004," December 16, 2004
- "The ‘No Viewpoint’ Viewpoint,"
by Greg Lukianoff, Inside Higher Education, June 6, 2005
- "Service-Learning proposal approved,"
by Brian Reisinger, The Spectator (UWEC), May 12, 2005
- "Squelching of Campus Viewpoints Violates 1st Amendment, Group Says,"
by Jim Brown, Agape Press, May 10, 2005
- "Group targets student funding policy,"
by Sundeep Malladi, The Badger Herald (UW-Madison), May 3, 2005
- "Political project restrictions denied,"
by Brian Reisinger, The Spectator (UWEC), April 28, 2005