Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow-Madison v. Pruitt claims UW-Madison denied the student group, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow-Madison (CFACT), access to students fees because of the group’s conservative viewpoint.
Every UW student pays a “segregated university fee” which can be used by student organizations if approved by a student committee, the UW-Madison Chancellor and the UW System Board of Regents.
Apparently, CFACT applied for the segregated funds last year, which it has applied for and received the past six years, but was denied eligibility for the 2009-10 year. However, the university granted eligibility to a similar student group, the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG).
CFACT’s mission is to educate college students on environmental and development issues. So far, WISPIRG and CFACT are virtually similar. CFACT, however, is well known for supporting free-market, science/technology-driven solutions to environmental and development issues as opposed to government regulation. WISPIRG, on the other hand, advocates from a politically liberal position.
The difference between how UW treated CFACT and WISPIRG is not a good thing for the school considering that UW-Madison is an extension of state government and therefore liable under the 1st and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantee free speech to everyone–including student groups on a state school campus.