Online petition asks UW-Madison officials to reimburse students for service, campus fees

MADISON, Wis. — An online petition is circulating asking University of Wisconsin-Madison officials to return “some, if not all, of the nearly $750 they’ve charged students for the lackluster Fall 2020 semester.”

The petition, created by Breon Newble, has more than 500 signatures so far.

“Many student services have been switched to an online format or halted completely (i.e, the opening of the Rec Facilities, limited access to University Health services, etc.),” Newble wrote. “UW-Madison should not by any means be entitled to the fees they’ve charged students for this semester for services (the students) have extremely limited or no access to.”

The $750 is charged to each student for service and amenity fees.

“Seeing as campus is currently closed and probably will be for the next two weeks, and reasonably expected to be closed for the remainder of the semester, there’s really no chance we will be able to utilize the services we are technically paying for,” Newble said. “It kind of makes no sense how the money is being absorbed by the university with no clear indication as to whether or not students will be receiving those fees back, whether everything is closed or not.”

UW-Madison freshman Jack Greco said he is in favor of students receiving some reimbursement.

“If students are sent home from the residence halls, they should be fully reimbursed for their housing costs because they paid for the full semester, and solely receiving a few months or a month is not acceptable,” Greco said. “In addition, I think students should be partially reimbursed for their tuition payments because at the end of the day, remote learning just is not at the same quality as learning in person in the classroom, and it should not be valued the same way.”

Freshman Zach Sherman, who has been quarantined in Witte Hall, said he does not believe students should be reimbursed if the lockdown only lasts for two weeks.

“The university has to come out with what’s going to happen after the lockdown,” Sherman said. “If they say after the lockdown that we have no ability to use any of the rec facilities of any of the other things, then I think 100% we should be reimbursed partially with the fees.”

According to the university’s policy, if a student withdraws from school entirely, the campus fees that the petition refers to will be reimbursed along with tuition. But if a student remains enrolled, the fees are not refunded because students will still have access to the services.