Both sides say they got a favorable ruling from a federal judge on dispensing UW student fees to a religious organization.

The judge said, in order to receive $250,000 in student fees, the UW-Madison Roman Catholic Foundation must be run by students. "He said you need to have at least six students on your board and so we're completely willing to do that." … Pending expected approval of the executive board according to the Foundation's Tim Kruse.

But the larger issue, the one that could affect campus organizations nationwide, is the judge's ruling that UW cannot deny student fees to student-run organizations that exercise their right of free association: "What the judge ruled was the university cannot require us to alter our freedom of association, that we could restrict it to Roman Catholics if we wanted to and so the university was wrong on that point."

UW is still studying that part of the ruling based on an amended policy adopted by the Board of Regents last December — before it responds. But Kruse points to a headline in the current higher education news journal Inside Higher Ed to prove his point: "The headline was Catholic Group Wins the Church/State Debate ."

AUDIO: Jim Dick Reports (1:07 MP3)

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