Catholic Group to Receive Student-Funded Money

By: Melissa Wollering
By: Melissa Wollering

A Catholic organization on the UW campus will get student-funded dollars for at least one more year. Chancellor John Wiley changed his mind Tuesday after previously stating he would not allow student fees to be used for religious purposes.

The UW Roman Catholic Foundation operates Saint Paul's Catholic Center. Nearly 12,000 students at UW are Catholic. That is one-third of the campus. As many as 2,000 students attend services and take part in other activities at Saint Paul's every week, making it one of the largest student groups on campus. Still, the Center is awarded the least amount of money eligible to student groups: $145,000. That covers less than one-fifth of the group's annual budget.

The UW Roman Catholic Foundation has also been told it may be subjected to an investigation before next year's funding is approved. Tim Kruse is the Director of Development for the Foundation. He says it just wants to be subjected to the same criteria as other student groups.

"Segregated fees are not state tax dollars," says Kruse. "These are fees that students pay into a fund that are then to be distributed for student extra-curricular activities."

Kruse says all students deserve to benefit from the money they pay in seg fees. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled public universities can use student fees for any group as long as no one group is discriminated against.

Wiley is asking the Board of Regents to take a closer look before next year's budget is approved.

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