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University of Wisconsin System
Backgrounder on Southworth decision
Oct. 1, 2002

  • The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today has upheld the constitutionality of the UW's mandatory student fee system.
  • We have always believed that our mandatory fee system was constitutional and viewpoint neutral, as required by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the appeals court decision clearly affirms our position.
  • The appeals court decision also points out that the university has taken great care in developing a system for distributing student fee revenue - with specific criteria and an appropriate appeals process - that ensures viewpoint neutrality.
  • In the areas the court suggested were problematic, we are confident the university will make the necessary changes to satisfy the court's opinion.
  • This is good news for our students and for our longstanding belief that public universities are, and should be, marketplaces for the robust exchange of ideas.

The Oct. 1 decision of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals can be accessed online: http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/op3.fwx?submit1=showop&caseno=01-1912.169.PDF

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