September 1, 2010

The University of Wisconsin must include the Badger Catholic, a student group, in the distribution of student activity fees.

Says the 7th Circuit, in an opinion written by Judge Easterbrook.

30 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

Catholics badger Lutherans, Lutherans badger Catholics,
The student fees should pay for this.
Badger, badger, badger!

Bob said...

Most of these controversial cases would go away if mandatory "student activity fees" were eliminated entirely, as they should be. If a student group wants money, any group, let them raise it themselves.

But that would reduce the power of the junior congresscritters who run student government. Here we see a microcosm of the national stage.

c3 said...

The legal issues notwithstanding, I've never understood the secular view that because its a "religious" irrational view it requires special restriction (as opposed to say a Badge Vegan Student Group that actively recruits and encourages students not to eat meat or use animal products.)

Joseph said...

Makes sense to me (assuming they are required to allow gays, atheists, and all the other heathens to be members and fully participate in the group's activities).

1jpb said...

"Says the 7th Circuit, in an opinion written by Judge Easterbrook."

AKA

These are the demands and sayings of Easterbrook.

Paddy O said...

At some point, it seems to me that the word "religious" should be better clarified or at least challenged. Now, there are all kinds of ideologies that, essentially, function in the same capacity as religions used to: as a way of forming identity and community cohesion. This can be anything from the widespread New Age influenced spiritualities, to a prioritization of sexuality, or even just common interest groups that try to spread the word, "combat ignorance" or otherwise advocate for a cause.

Singling out groups merely because their focus is on some sort of mystical or historical foundation seems increasingly and arbitrarily discriminatory. Why should one type of belief be categorized and subject to harsher restrictions than another?

In this case, the court finds it shouldn't. But, I think there are still massive amounts of difficulties and confusion based on the overly narrow conception of what constitutes "religion".

Paddy O said...

case in point: I once wrote my local PBS station and complained about how much they were showing essentially religious programing. For a while the entire weekends were taken up with one guru after another.

I got a response saying that PBS does not advocate or show religious programming. But, it takes a comically narrow perspective on religion to say that someone like Wayne Dyer is not, essentially, a religious teacher, offering a kind of pseudo-spiritual pathway to empowerment and enlightenment, and doing so in a way that is meant to both proselytize his views and gain financial support for its propagation.

But, because "religion" is not applied to such secularized spiritualities of self-empowerment and other new age formulations, PBS can boldly participate in very direct proselytism while denying it has any "religious" programming.

traditionalguy said...

Here comes theocracy riding in on a pale horse to enslave the helpless atheists.

blake said...

Catholics badger Lutherans, Lutherans badger Catholics,
The student fees should pay for this.
Badger, badger, badger!


Mushroom!

TosaGuy said...

Damn,

Blake beat me too it!

blake said...

Well, Tosa, there's always...

LLAMAS!

Matt said...

If it were a Muslim group getting the funding the right wing would freak out. They would be heading up to Wisconsin to protest. It would be on FOX News every hour.

As it is now who cares? A Catholic group? Boring.

edutcher said...

Tell me, is it known as the 7th Circus?

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

If it were a Muslim group getting the funding the right wing would freak out. They would be heading up to Wisconsin to protest. It would be on FOX News every hour.

OK, so if I turn on FOX News, within the next hour I'll see right wingers protesting in the streets over the fact that the UW Muslim Students Association is a registered group eligible for student funding.

Either that, or Matt is a bigot who doesn't know what he's talking about.

I'm gonna go with "Matt is a bigot who doesn't know what he's talking about."

Larry J said...

Matt said...
If it were a Muslim group getting the funding the right wing would freak out. They would be heading up to Wisconsin to protest. It would be on FOX News every hour.


Funny, the last time I looked, many colleges have Muslim Student Associations. From what I gather, they get funding from the colleges, too. How many times have conservatives freaked? Sounds like you're projecting to me.

former law student said...

The UW-Madison is fine with allocating student funds to religious clubs, apparently, as long as they avoided any religious practices or references to religion. From the decision:

To be eligible for reimbursement, a group must submit a budget for the approval of student government and eventually the administration. Badger Catholic has had trouble with this process. Each budget has been rejected at least in part by the student government, the administration, or both on the ground that much of Badger Catholic’s speech is religious in character. The University won’t pay for three categories of speech: worship, proselytizing, and religious instruction. It is willing to use student activity fees for what it calls dialog, discussion, or debate from a religious perspective, but not for anything that it labels worship, proselytizing, or religious instruction.

These categories have little meaning on their own, but examples demonstrate where the University has drawn the line. One of the district court’s opinions sets out the six specific programs for which the University has refused to reimburse any of the group’s expenses. 590 F. Supp. 2d 1083, 1088–89 (W.D. Wis. 2008). One program is called “mentoring for busy students” and entails meetings between students and “one of the spiritual directors for spiritual mentoring/counseling and to talk about anything they wanted for a half-hour.
The spiritual directors included Catholic nuns and priests who would offer guidance or prayer if requested by the student.” Another program was a summer retreat for leadership training. During the four-day retreat, three masses were said and four communal prayer sessions held.


So counseling and leadership training qualified for reimbursement only as long as they were 100% Jesus-free.

c3 said...

Matt;
If it were a Muslim group getting the funding the right wing would freak out. They would be heading up to Wisconsin to protest. It would be on FOX News every hour

I just did a quick google search of Muslim student Association and found multiple chapters at multiple schools. I would wager at least one receives support from its school. I'm not aware of any hourly news flash on Fox News regarding this.

Please stick to facts, not bias.

Joe said...

I agree with Bob; if people want a club or group at University or High School, let them raise the money themselves.

former law student said...

if people want a club or group at University or High School, let them raise the money themselves.

I want to see the Football team holding bake sales to buy new uniforms.

mc said...

'In a dissenting opinion, Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote that the university had acted in a manner that was both "viewpoint neutral and constitutionally sound."'---

Pay as you go, for Pete's sakes, raise your own damned first amendment money and advocate on your own damned soap box. Hewn with your thoughts and fastened with your nails, nails you and your self minded have driven.

Screw the slush pool...Let's talk of NPR.

Seven Machos said...

FLS -- I am going to guess that the football team at Wisconsin is a huge moneymaker that, in fact, supports all other sports.

former law student said...

I am going to guess that the football team at Wisconsin is a huge moneymaker

But will it continue to be one once the team starts selecting other students as coaches?

(The Catholic club could not get reimbursed so long as they had non-student members, such as the local bishop.)

Seven Machos said...

No faculty adviser? The football coach is employed by the university, whereas the local bishop is employed by a shadowy real estate corporation based in Rome.

Football coaches make insane and wrong amounts of money, but the programs are still profitable, and they fund all the other sports.

blake said...

Seven--

I've heard that the various traditional sports programs somehow manage to lose money. It was in conjunction with the local university, so I don't know if that was just directed at us, or if it was meant to be a descriptor of a national issue.

This isn't as helpful as I'd like. But it says "And the $3.6 billion a year that schools are estimated to be pouring into athletics to cover losses, even at many Division 1-A schools, is only going to grow, even as millions upon millions of dollars more are generated through ticket sales and television deals."

Seven Machos said...

No question that most schools colleges lose money athletically. However, most schools includes all of Division I, II, and III as well as NAIA -- every podunk school and every liberal arts college. One reason those schools justify athletics is that it brings students who want to play sports.

However, big-time schools like Wisconsin make a mint from their football programs. 60,000 people multiplied by $30 a ticket for home games. And that's ticket sales alone.

Alan said...

$30 per ticket? They're that cheap? For the lousy games at Texas A&M (vs. Stephen F. Austin, La. Tech, and Florida International), they're $55. For the Big 12 games, they're $80-$100.

Of course, there's also the largest student section in the nation (the "12th man" gets 32,000+ seats), so there's only 50,000 seats to "sell" out of an 82,000 seat stadium. But, yeah, they make money...

Calypso Facto said...

According to Forbes, UW football generates $17 million in annual profits (19th in the nation).

TMink said...

Joseph, the groups needs gays to attend so that they can convert them and Jesus can save them from their sin.

Trey

MadisonMan said...

I am going to guess that the football team at Wisconsin is a huge moneymaker that, in fact, supports all other sports.

I think Men's Basketball is also a moneymaker, as is Men's Hockey.

Men are paying for Women. It's very chivalrous here.

MadisonMan said...

As far as ticket prices go, a season ticket for students is $154 for 7 games (3 of them lousy), plus $20 for 'processing'. 14000 seats are sold that way.

The rest of the tickets : $42 for non-conference, $49 for Big "10". Or $294 for a season ticket. I will guess you have to make a donation to the Athletic Dept slush fund as well.