UWSP Power Struggle
A state auditor has partly resolved years of controversy over what role the student government has in reviewing and allocating student activity fees at UW-Stevens Point. Students and administrators have sparred for years over whether the Student Government Association should have the sole power to review fees or if that power had to be shared with un-elected student organizations.
The controversy arose when the elected student government at UWSP decided it should be the body to review the section of student fees that pay for the student union instead of an unelected advisory body that had filled that role since 1989. The former chancellor refused to implement the change saying the student government didn’t have the power to make it. The current chancellor, Mark Nook, also refused to implement the change arguing that students would need to hold a referendum to change which body would review the union’s fees.
An auditor with the Legislative Audit Bureau found that “there are no statues or policies that explicitly require such a process.” Instead the auditor recommended that the school simply make the process clearer for when students decide they want to change the body that represents them.
By statue, students at the University of Wisconsin campuses play the lead role in determining how to spend student activity fees. That same statute makes it clear that “students of each institution or campus shall have the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine and to select their representatives to participate in institutional governance.”