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Students sue UW Milwaukee over student fee oversight rights


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WSAU) -- A pair of University of Wisconsin Milwaukee students have filed a lawsuit against the University’s administration.

Taylor Scott and M. Samir Siddique filed the complaint in Milwaukee County, charging university administrators with denying students of their legal right to oversee segregated student fee dollars.

The lawsuit says the administration’s control of those dollars with no student input fails to recognize the UWM Student Association’s authority under state statute SS 36.09 (5). The students claim the UWM administration is using the dollars to fund unapproved items like the Student Association Professional Office, which the UWM Student Association Senate chose not to fund last year.

One person who is very familiar with state statute 36.09 (5) and how it determines shared governance of segregated student dollars in Jeffrey Decker. Decker has been through several legal battles with the University of Wisconsin System, and has even been banned from all campuses in the past. He is pleased to see Scott and Siddique proceed with the suit. “A lawsuit is really the only recourse to force public servants to obey the law when they’re so very determined to break it, and illegally control hundreds of millions of dollars.” Decker is a former UW Stevens Point student who has often challenged university officials on several campuses for not allowing student oversight of segregated funds as provided by law.

Decker says there is another paragraph in the shared governance law that also gives faculty the same rights to oversee some of these dollars, but he believes they are too intimidated to challenge the University administration.

Decker believes the university is clearly violating the shared governance law. “Last year at UW Milwaukee, Taylor Scott was one of the key leaders of an implementation plan to firmly and clearly establish student oversight of student fees, and to his shame, the Chancellor retaliated by dissolving student government in a clear, bold, flagrant, illegal swipe at student rights and basic democracy and rule of law.” Decker says at Milwaukee, administration is attempting to change the Student Association Constitution to eliminate even more student rights.

Jeffrey Decker is also concerned about a proposal at the State Assembly that would strike statute 56.09 (5) from the books, leaving university administration in total control of student dollars. Decker says in light of how the University of Wisconsin System has been caught handling taxpayer dollars recently, giving them total control over these fees would be a big mistake.

University officials were not available to comment on the lawsuit.

Decker is the son of former State Senator Russ Decker of Schofield. Father and son do not see eye to eye on this issue.