Posts Tagged ‘SSFC’

Open records for UW student government?

August 5, 2009

Frankly, I don’t know why anybody in their right mind would care to look into the business of student government, but just in case any of you are crazy or bored enough to attempt, Patrick McEwen and Tom Templeton are looking after you. I ran into Patrick and Tom the other day. They were looking spiffy after their meeting with Rep. Mark Gottlieb, a Republican member of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities. They’d been discussing proposals to subject UW student governments to open records law. Gottlieb is the author of one such bill.

As Patrick noted, a point that has been raised in advocating for more transparency in student government is the situation at UW-Milwaukee, where members of the student council refused to release their minutes to the student newspaper. Nevertheless, there are legitimate reasons to be cautious in approaching the issue, according to McEwen. His position, which I support to a certain degree, is that although governing bodies, such as ASM and SSFC, should be subject to open records requests, not all GSSF groups should be. Patrick cited PAVE – a counseling session with a student should not be open to the public. That being said, I can’t imagine that being a problem – all kinds of reasonable exceptions exist in state government as well, although sometimes the Doyle administration attempts to expand “reasonable” to unreasonable degrees.

What do you think dear reader? Can you think of any exceptions or concerns that should be raised?


June 30, 2009

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.