It is somewhat ironic that Kyle Szarzynski is the one to report on CFACT. Kyle is perhaps the only person on campus who gives CFACT a run for its money in the “craziness” department. But to Kyle’s credit, he can generally present his allegations articulately, even when he’s accusing namby-pamby Canadians of being white supremacists.

No organization was a bigger headache during my time at the Herald than CFACT. Day after day we’d receive some letter from a starry-eyed recent convert, lauding the org for teaching them a lot of cool new stuff,  “serving the public,” and best of all, “working for the environment.” The vague slogans and unspecific goals were oddly reminiscent of the Church of  Scientology’s video on “human rights.” Unfortunately, because we were often short on content, we were forced on several occassions to run their propaganda. Who were we to discriminate? When we weren’t printing crack-inspired conspiracy theories by the head of Students for McCain we were running articles in favor of abolishing all drunk-driving laws.

Plus, despite the creepy cult vibes, the org definitely provided some good laughs. The best was when my co-editor Sam Clegg got a hold of a CFACT pamphlet alleging that Earth Day is actually a secret celebration of communism.

Wisconsin’s own Gaylord Nelson was compared to Nikita Khrushchev for deciding to place Earth Day on April 22, which is, coincidentally, Lenin’s birthday. Or as CFACT so eloquently implied in its pamphlet, Nelson consciously did this to insidiously work communism into the environmental discourse.

All that time, however, I had no idea that it was actually a segregated-fee funded organization. That Wisconsin, the home of Joe McCarthy, would be duped once again into funding such tactless liars, is truly unfortunate. Thankfully the Student Services Finance Committee ruled correctly last year by denying the group funding. Unfortunately it only did so because of a couple technicalities. CFACT failed to turn in some papers on time. Boring. SSFC should have gone farther and denounced the group for advancing an ideological agenda, rather than pushing one that “benefits all students,” which is the standard a group must satisfy to receive seg-fee funds.

Now CFACT is getting ready to sue the university unless its funding is restored. It enlisted the help of a few clueless blowhards at the State Capitol as well.

A conservative college group is threatening to sue the University of Wisconsin-Madison, claiming the school wiped out its funding as retaliation against its stance on global warming and other issues.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, was one of nine state legislators to ask the chancellor to reconsider.

“Without CFACT on campus, discussions about environmental and social issues will be completely one-sided,” they wrote in May. “The diversity that CFACT adds to these issues is invaluable to the UW campus and should be maintained.”

“We have a huge problem in society,” he said. “Too many of our universities hate any diversity of viewpoint other than that of the hard left. It’s appalling.”

Appalling that no other environmental group integrates the issue of leninism with earth day. I am simply not smart enough to respond to that one.

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16 Responses to “CFALSE”

  1. Jason Smathers Says:


    They can’t denounce a group for an ideological agenda, because THEN CFACT would have a case for viewpoint neutrality violation claims.

    In any case, the Herald will be posting the full application (well, I guess partial, according to SSFC.) of CFACT, their denial letter, as well as recordings of deliberations on CFACT to show what exactly happened here.

    However, I will say that given what I know about Kyle and CFACT, I tend to side with Kyle on this one.

    • The Sconz Says:

      Interesting. See, this is what I want this blog to be about – dialogue! Thanks to Smathers and the Szar for correcting me when I go astray.

      Kyle, if you insist, I thought the post made it clear: I think that calling Sam Clegg a “white supremacist and rape apologist” was crazy. Very crazy, in fact. About as crazy as saying that Earth Day was a leninist plot. It’s not even out of loyalty to Sam that I say that. I find it more goofy than sad.

      • Kyle Szarzynski Says:

        Jack, I have given extensive justification for both of those claims and I stand by them wholeheartedly. If you disagree with them then say so and give a reason. We can disagree without you tossing out cheap shots.

        Second, your post did not say that my criticisms were crazy; you said that I was. Don’t try to change what you wrote; there is no room for interpretation in your words. I admit to using aggressive language in critiquing those with whom I disagree, especially those who are expressing what I believe to be morally outrageous views. I think people need to be called on racism and the like. However, I am always sure to give substantive justifications for serious claims like those. You can disagree with my assertions, but again, I always back them up.

        What I do not do, as you have done in this post, is pen unjustified personal attacks that have no relevance to the issue being discussed.

        Of course, this is your blog and you can do what you want. But if you’re going to make cheap shots like those then I’m not going to participate in this forum (not that you care, I suppose) and your blog will degenerate into the mindless hatred and stupidity that characterizes the Critical Badger and the like.

  2. Kyle Szarzynski Says:


    Sorry, but this entire post is worthless. Denying CFACT on ideological grounds would be entirely illegal, and shows that you have little understanding of the eligibility process. The group was also denied for more than their lack of paperwork; the committee determined they did not have a direct service, as you would know if you actually listened to the recording of their eligibility decision. Please be more informed next time.

    Further, I am glad that you believe my opinions are generally “articulate,” but making the constant ad hominem cheap shots at members of the “far left” (omg! the “far left!”) is about as mundane on this campus as it is intellectually lazy. When I make attacks about people’s racial views I provide lengthy justifications for them; I have noticed that your attacks are totally unsubstantiated drive-bys. Not cool, but maybe you don’t care about the integrity of your writing, anyway.

    • The Sconz Says:


      You are correct. I know practically nothing about SSFC procedure. As Smathers could probably tell you, I have never really cared. I think it’s a bogus charade, however, when groups with very clear political agendas, are funded by student tuition dollars. How can a group like CFACT be distinguished from the College Dems or College Republicans? Is the only grounds that they don’t support political candidates?

      • Kyle Szarzynski Says:

        The College Dems/Repubs have every right to apply for GSSF funding – even SPD could (God forbid!); having a political agenda does not disqualify one from having access to SSFC money, nor does supporting political candidates. If they could show that they have a “direct service” as defined by ASM bylaws, and that their services are accessible to all students, I don’t think there would be any problem. However, I think these groups would be determined ineligible because what they do would probably not qualify as a direct service. Determining a direct service – things like tenant counseling (STU shoutout: counseling hours 12-5 weekdays), workshops, diversity trainings, etc are all examples – is probably the toughest part of SSFC eligibility decisions. The key thing, in my mind, is that groups have to do something beyond just putting on events (lectures, rallies, etc) for at least 51% of their activities, something which CFACT, SPD, College Dems/Repubs do not do. Like I said, it can get complicated. The important thing is to have dedicated, intelligent people on the SSFC willing to work through these issues in a VPN way.

        (Baseless personal attack still noted.)

      • Jason Smathers Says:

        I think it’s a bogus charade, however, when groups with very clear political agendas, are funded by student tuition dollars.

        Yeah. So did Southworth. But he lost.

  3. Kyle Szarzynski Says:

    Though I do think it’s cute the way you are defending the reputation of your good friend with hurt feelings. Touching, really.

  4. The Sconz Says:

    “Second, your post did not say that my criticisms were crazy; you said that I was. Don’t try to change what you wrote; there is no room for interpretation in your words.”

    I beg to differ. “Craziness” in the way I used it was a noun, or perhaps a “product,” which I believe you produce from time to time. Some of what you say I consider to be sane (my opinion, not my psychoanalytic judgment), and some of what you say I consider to be insane.

    Where does your sense of humor go online? You’re a lot cooler in person.

  5. Alec Slocum Says:

    A couple questions for Smathers or Szarzynski or whoever may know. I’m with you on the precedent set by Southworth not that it even applies to this situation, but how much may fall under the protected ideology of a group? Say, for instance, a group applies for seg fees who, as part of their specified ideology, does not allow women to be members, or maybe more subtly to hold officer positions in the org. Must this kind of practice still be funded by the university based on viewpoint-neutrality? Or, say it is a white-supremacist group, which won’t allow membership to minorities.

    Second, couldn’t a group with a specific political ideology still argue that they are providing a service to the student body by promoting ideologically diverse discussions and forums on campus?

    I remember talking to Downs about these issues previously but I am fuzzy on the details or if they have been clarified by the court.

    • The Sconz Says:

      Alec, I can reply to the examples you listed without knowing practically anything about SSFC rules (see below). Any org that would deny specific members would be excluded because they are not providing a service to the whole student body.

    • Kyle Szarzynski Says:

      Alec, one of the requirements for GSSF eligibility is that the direct service (at least 51% of the programming) must be “aimed at reaching all students.” Groups which are white supremacist or sexist in nature would therefore not qualify. The words “aimed at reaching” are obviously open to some interpretation, but clearly groups which explicitly bar or intimidate certain students would miss the mark.

      Also, this issue is one of ASM bylaws (written by the SSFC and approved by Council), not the Supreme Court case. So long as the funding is dispersed in a “viewpoint neutral” manner, we students can set the rules to fund whoever we want.

      • Alec Slocum Says:

        A group like the college democrats or republicans wouldn’t seem to fit this standard though. It seems very reasonable that the college dems could exclude a conservative from being one of their officers, or even a part of their group. If for nothing else, just to avoid sabotage of their organization. Maybe more obviously, a feminist org would seem to be justified in excluding a person who believes in the inferiority of women from their membership.

        In both of those cases it would appear that the org is not looking to reach all students, yet from what I understand they would still be funded. Basically, it seems like almost any ideologically driven group involves some amount of exclusion, namely excluding those who don’t harbor that same ideology. And thus, they are not “aimed at reaching ALL students.”

        And this is where the viewpoint-neutrality comes back in. When a group who, as part of their ideology, involves a certain amount of exclusion (even if that exclusion is repulsive to most) wouldn’t it fail to pass the viewpoint-neutrality test to deny them funding since other orgs which similarly involve exclusion (though more palatable) are receiving funding?

    • Kyle Szarzynski Says:

      We look at things like advertising and messaging. The group’s ideology/viewpoint is usually not a sticking point as it relates to differing ideologies/viewpoints for the following reason. Every group has an ideology/viewpoint. PAVE is anti-sexual violence. Student Leadership Program is pro-leadership training. WISPIRG is pro-political activism. So long as these groups make it clear that their services are open to everyone regardless of their viewpoint, they should meet this criteria. (There are conservatives in WISPIRG, for instance.)

      A white supremacist organization probably wouldn’t be aimed at reaching all students – it is, after all, promoting the inferiority of certain students, and would probably explicitly bar them from membership.

      The other thing to consider is that some of this just my interpretation of the criteria; there is a reason why eligibility decisions involve heated debate and close votes.

  6. Reader Says:

    Kyle, please provide your “substantive justification” that you are “allways sure to give”, except didn’t give this time, for the statement “mindless hatred and stupidity that characterizes the Critical Badger…”

    We’re trying to keep this civil, afterall.

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