In an April 4
letter to Associated Students of Madison officers, Wiley wrote that
student funding cannot go toward a church-related religious activity,
nor can any student organization based off campus receive money for
electricity, gas, water or rent, reported the Madison Capital Times.
This means the
off-campus group stands to lose $35,462 for electricity, gas and water.
Tim Kruse, the Catholic foundation's development director, said he
received the news on April 13th and interpreted it “as nothing short of
blatant systemic religious discrimination."
"They refuse to treat religious students on the same terms they treat other students," he was quoted as saying in the Times.
In the letter,
Wiley said the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment bars the
university from giving state money for religious activities. He voiced
concern about the Roman Catholic Foundation's use of student funding
for personnel like a librarian, accounting assistant and student event
coordinators; activities like "Friday After Class Theology" and
printing jobs like Lenten booklets.
Wiley also wrote
that all groups receiving student funding must be registered student
organizations. The Catholic foundation is not a registered student
organization, so starting next year, unless it becomes one, it will not
be eligible for student funding, reported the newspaper.
chancellor's cut stands, it would overrule a decision by the UW Student
Judiciary, and possibly send the matter into litigation.
In February, the
student government approved a $147,000 budget for the Roman Catholic
Foundation after the Student Judiciary made it clear that it must fund
activities that include religious expression.
government is expected to respond to Wiley with a letter later this
week. Wiley is expected to make his final decision about the budget
after reading the letter, said Rachelle Stone, chairwoman of the
Student Services Finance Committee. After that, the organizations can
appeal the decisions.
groups affected by the cuts include Sex Out Loud, the environmental
group CFACT, the Jewish Cultural Collective and the Tenant Resource
UW Roman Catholic Foundation, serving University of Wisconsin-Madison
students, cannot receive student government funding for religious
activities, announced University Chancellor John Wiley.