|Tuesday, March 30, 1999||
Volume 64, Issue 119
Whitlock on Clinton
Ed De La Garza
Added fee: Save the lobsters fund
The Supreme Court will decide whether or not a state-run university has the right to allocate a portion of student fees for campus groups with political goals.
The University of Wisconsin was barred from this practice because the university could not force students to support groups who may possess objectionable views. The court ruled that such a practice violated a student's right to free speech.
An appeals court ruled that students were still required to pay activity fees, but they could exercise an "opt-out privilege," meaning they could specify which groups they did wish to support.
Among the groups being subsidized were Students of the National Organization of Women, the International Socialist Organization, the Campus Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Center and an AIDS support group.
In 1995, it was ruled that public universities could not support some groups and refuse others, such as the University of Virginia's refusal to support a student-run Christian magazine, basically stating that universities could not "pick and choose" causes. If they support one group, they must support all.
Certain causes may very well benefit society. They may make for a more well-rounded student body. It may even make students feel good about themselves. They shouldn't however, be forced on them.
What if students don't want to support the "Starving Artists Campaign?" What if they don't find "Free the Lemmings" worthwhile? Where does that leave "Educate the Crackers" and "More Fur Coats for Zsa Zsa Gabor" once "Aryan International" takes all of their funding?
It's a good idea to support campus organizations -- no, not only because the Cougar is one. The problem arises when certain campus groups espouse political and/or ideological beliefs students don't agree with.
Students are already charged fees which go to places which are only talked about (what exactly is a "Tuition Designated?"). We shouldn't be forced to support organizations with political goals. We should be allowed to choose. Feel like supporting an AIDS support network? Fine, put a check next to the name.
Granted, that may lead to a severe reduction in funding, but who really cares about a "Goths Are People Too" organization? Now "Y2K is A-OK" -- that's an organization.