Gov. Walker's budget could impact UW student programs, services
MADISON (WKOW) -
Governor Scott Walker's latest budget proposal aims to support UW System students with tuition cuts and other degree options, but one measure could cut student programs and services.
Gov. Walker wants to allow UW students to choose whether to pay certain fees, called segregation fees. A portion of those allocable fees, about $90 a semester, goes towards student activities and services. The governor's office says the goal is to give students an opportunity to make decisions on what they want to fund on campus, but student government leaders say it could hurt all programs.
The Associated Students of Madison says allocable fees support programs like the Rape Crisis Center, the Tenant Resource Center, free bus passes, the student radio station and other student-led organizations. Student government leaders say they're pleased to see the governor's efforts to make college more affordable, but they were surprised to see this measure regarding fees.
"It was heartbreaking, though, to hear that our student power over allocable fees was going to be infringed up on," says Sally Rohrer, who chairs ASM's Legislative Affairs Committee. "I would not blame students who decide to opt out of segregated fees. What my fear is that students don't understand how important segregated fees are to the services that we have on campus and what we would be losing if they didn't pay for them."
One of the programs that could be affected is the student radio station, WSUM. Creative Director Maureen Duthie says her college experience wouldn't be the same without the station, so she's worried about future funding.
"Student life is pretty hard," she says. "You need something to keep you sane a little bit and this is where I can come to relax, or study, or just hang out with people, and I've learned a lot about myself by just being here."
The ASM student leaders, who decide where segregated fees go, plan to urge lawmakers to remove the measure from the budget, so they don't have to cut funding from programs.