Change of heart: University chancellor allows student fees to be directed to Catholic group

.- Chancellor John Wiley of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has changed his mind about directing student fees to religious organizations, saying Tuesday that he “provisionally” approved of directing $145,000 to the UW Roman Catholic Foundation.

The chancellor was quick to add that it may be necessary to receive more information about the Catholic group’s activities "before funding that may be provisionally approved can actually be released," reported the Madison Capital Times.

The funding was approved by student leaders earlier this year. His decision now goes to the Board of Regents for final approval.

Wiley argued in a memo last month to student leaders that fees could not be used to support religious activities without violating the constitution. The Catholic group had threatened to sue if funding was rejected.

In a recent memo, Wiley also wrote that he stood behind the principle that student organizations based off campus, like the Catholic foundation, are not eligible for rent or maintenance subsidies.

But the Madison Capital Times reported that he now says he is granting a one-year exemption to all organizations, and will ask the Board of Regents to clarify the issue.

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