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Archive for Friday, September 4, 1998

KU SENATE PANEL DEBATES RULING ON STUDENT FEES

September 4, 1998

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A court ruling over a University of Wisconsin legal battle is making waves at Kansas University.

Kansas University Student Senate committees this week tabled a resolution to oppose a federal court decision limiting the ways student fees could be allocated to campus groups.

Some KU students feel the decision sets a bad precedent for student governments across the country.

The decision causing the stir was handed down Aug. 10, when the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the University of Wisconsin could not continue to allocate student fees to organizations that inspire ideological or political objections from students.

Organizations mentioned in the decision included Madison AIDS Support Network, Community Action on Latin America, Student Labor Action Coalition and Students of National Organization for Women.

The university is deciding whether to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although the ruling is only applicable in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court District, which does not include Kansas, some student senators at KU worry about the decision's potential implications.

Partha Mazumdar, KU graduate senator and author of the resolution, said he hoped any preemptive strikes made by the Legislature or Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall should only be in support of the current system.

``Student fees are student money, and we decide where they go,'' Mazumdar said. ``This isn't like trying to tear down windmills or something we shouldn't be doing.''

KU student body president Kevin Yoder agreed, noting that fees are much like taxes and therefore the terrain of elected representatives.

``If every student were to decide where they want their money going, we'd never get anything done,'' Yoder said.

The resolution will again come up before the University Affairs and Student Rights committees in two weeks.

Aaron Profitt, KU sophomore and vice chair of University Affairs, said a number of committee members felt the issue was not one of government intrusion but an affirmation that student fees should not fund political groups.

``Here at KU, we have a clause in our rules and regulations that prevents us from funding partisan political activities,'' Profitt said. ``Some of us feel that takes care of it right there.''

-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is mgowen@ljworld.com.

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