In a new clash with a Roman Catholic organization on its campus, the University of Wisconsin at Madison has declined, for now, to recognize and provide financial support to the UW Roman Catholic Foundation because only three of the group’s board members are students, the Associated Press reported.
Yvonne Fangmeyer, director of the university’s Student Organization Office, informed the group of that decision in an e-mail message on Friday. University rules require that student groups “be controlled and directed by UW-Madison students,” she wrote.
The university’s decision means the group cannot receive student fees, reserve space on the campus, recruit students at campus events, or use the university’s name or initials in its title.
The campus’s chancellor, John D. Wiley, had approved $145,000 in student fees for the group just last spring, after a yearlong dispute (The Chronicle, May 2). An aide to the chancellor said on Saturday that the group could be recognized if it restructured its board. He emphasized that the university’s decision was based on whether the group complied with rules governing all student organizations and not on its religious views.
Still, the action came just as the Catholic group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice accusing the Madison campus of discrimination and alleging that it had violated a Supreme Court ruling that requires mandatory student fees to be awarded without regard to the viewpoint of the group (The Chronicle, March 31, 2000).