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Wisconsin lawmakers force students to pay for sex toys, undermine their free speech

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker freaked out student governments across the University of Wisconsin System when he proposed making “allocable segregated fees” optional for students.

Such fees pay for many liberal campus programs, such as celebrations of sexual perversions, that students may not want their money to fund or simply will never use.

He also wanted to codify a statement protecting freedom of expression on UW campuses, which would require each institution to stop hecklers from trying to shut down others’ events. Such freedoms now are subject to the whims of regents, not protected by law.

That also panicked student governments, which want the freedom to marginalize conservative viewpoints.

MORE: Walker’s budget makes it optional for students to fund liberal programs

Now state lawmakers, responding to a tiny interest group that feeds at the trough of student fees, have complied with the demands of student governments.

The Daily Cardinal reports that the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, co-chaired by two Republicans, included Walker’s proposals on student fees and freedom of expression among 83 “non-fiscal policy items” that should be axed from the budget review process.

They will instead be introduced and approved as standalone legislation, meaning they will probably never be enacted.

MORE: Campus free speech would become state law in Walker’s budget

Student governments are crowing now that programs including “Sex Out Loud” – which provides “penis piñatas,” sex toys and orgasm tutorials – will keep getting money from students who have no choice but to fund them:

“Removing the opt-out from the state budget is a huge win for Wisconsin students,” said Sally Rohrer, the chair of the Associated Students of Madison’s Legislative Affairs committee.

Rohrer emphasized in a statement how student services that are funded by segregated fees act as outlets for diverse student groups to have a voice on campus.

During a Joint Finance Committee hearing in UW-Platteville Tuesday, members of ASM joined other UW System students to express their concern over the opt-out and request its removal from the budget.

MORE: Student fees pay for sex toys at UW-Madison

The Badger Herald notes that the fee proposal would have cut budgets for “partisan” activities:

ASM Legislative Affairs Chair Sally Rohrer said in a statement, eliminating the opt-out from the budget protects the “irreplaceable value” student services provide, especially in providing a voice to diverse groups of students.

It’s not clear how student services are “irreplaceable” if students that actually use these services must simply pay for them out of their own pockets.

Read the articles.

MORE: ‘Tough’ anti-free speech activists intimidate conservative woman

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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