Yesterday, after threatening that he would cut the religious elements out of the University of Wisconsin’s Roman Catholic Foundation’s budget, University of Wisconsin (Madison) Chancellor John Wiley agreed to fund the foundation’s student fee request. However, he then indicated that next year, the university would engage in viewpoint discrimination by scrutinizing whether student fees would fund religious activities. In other words, the university has punted the constitutional questions down the field.
Despite on-point Supreme Court authority, the university’s counsel continues to insist that spending student fees on religious student groups violates the Establishment Clause. I particularly enjoyed these comments from university attorney Nancy Lynch (as quoted in the student newspaper):
According to Lynch, however, none of the Supreme Court cases