Some UW groups concerned about proposal to allow students to opt out of fees

Some UW groups concerned about proposal to allow students to opt out of fees

A nonprofit organization that treats sexual assault victims at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus is concerned about a portion of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget.

The Dane County Rape Crisis Center provides a 24-hour help line to rape victims. Students are also able to access an advocate immediately after a sexual assault incident.

The nonprofit receives $100,000 a year under a contract with the Associated Students of Madison. Funding comes from segregated fees paid for by UW-Madison students annually.

This year, each student was charged $89. That money also funds other student organizations on campus.

Walker’s budget proposal gives students the option to opt out of paying that fee.

Advocates from the Dane County Rape Crisis Center are concerned that this proposal would lead to several students opting out, which in turn could cut the funding they receive.

“We are subject to sexual assault every 98 seconds …and then we start cutting funding? It just feels that for victims of sexual assault…like nobody believes us and nobody has a place to turn,” Dane County Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Erin Thornley Parisi said.

People in support of the opt-out option said it gives students the freedom to decide which campus organizations they would like to support.

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