Lawmakers have pulled the funding rug out from under a UW student group. Mandatory refundable fees currently fund the student-led organization United Council, which represents the interests of UW System students. As part of the larger motion dealing with funding for the University of Wisconsin System, the Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to remove the mandatory requirement.
“That’s going to destroy the funding for United Council,” said Representative Cory Mason, a Racine Democrat. “Those are the students we’ve heard from at every public hearing, who’ve told their very compelling stories about student debt”
“A mandatory fee is not appropriate. It’s something they should choose to join, choose to fund,” countered committee co-chair, Republican Representative John Nygren. “I would expect you’re not going to have any problem getting your fellow students to continue to fund your organization.”
“I’m not sure Representative Nygren is an expert in funding nonprofits in the state of Wisconsin, but this will have a significant impact on our ability to fund any staff positions,” said United Council Government Relations Director Dylan Jambrek. “The opt-out mechanism has been used to destroy statewide student organizations in other states, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now.”