Commentary on UW-Madison Student Fees

Campus Reform:

In the University of Wisconsin system, student fees are known as segregated university fees (SUF), and fall into two categories: non-allocable and allocable, with the former constituting 83 percent of SUF and “support commitments for fixed financial obligations,” and the latter providing “substantial support for campus student activities.”

In 2017, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed making allocable fees—which total $8,231,986.37—optional, though the proposal was ultimately nixed from his budget.

But student Jake Lubenow, chairman of both the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans and the College Republicans chapter at UW Madison, told Campus Reform that the College Republicans organization “stands firm in its stance that allocable student fees should be made optional.”

The fees “force students to fund organizations they may find morally reprehensible,” Lubenow asserted, arguing that “compulsion is contrary to everything this country stands for.”

Although funding decisions must be made in a viewpoint neutral manner, in accordance with a 2000 Supreme Court ruling involving three UW Madison students who objected that the mandatory fees were used to fund groups they did not support, left-leaning organizations still wind up with more than 20 times the amount of funding allocated to conservative groups.