More Educational Pressure Needed NOW over Dorm Bible Study Policy
Two New Pressure Points: Please Re-Contact UW System, & Contact Wisconsin Assembly Re: Next Week's Hearing on Issue
Grandstanding over a policy barring paid resident assistants (RAs) from holding bible studies in their dorms at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is reaching feverish pitches.
Since FFRF mailed you an info packet on Nov. 16 (and thank you so much for responding), the UW-Eau Claire capitulated, and rescinded their policy. More letters/emails are needed from you to preserve the separation of church and state within our public university system.
RAs get free dormitory room and board, and a stipend at public expense. The policy sensibly forbade RAs from hosting religious or political events in their dorm rooms, and was adopted to ensure fairness and comfort for all students. RAs wield personal control over some student privileges and are supposed to be there for students in crisis.
Target No. 1. Even though UW-Eau Claire rescinded the policy, the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Colleges and Campuses is going ahead with a "public hearing" next week over this issue on Tues., Dec. 13. "Public" is in quotes, since only invited speakers can speak and no public testimony is allowed! (Shouldn't they call this a Private Hearing?)
Target No. 2. Kevin Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin System, has convened a taskforce committee to make a recommendation for a systemwide policy on bible study by RAs, with a decision due in early January. (Rushing a decision at this time of year indicates the direction Reilly is favoring.)
The same message or letter could be sent to UW Pres. Reilly and Rep. Robin Kreibich (and for that matter, to your local newspaper). Please write Reilly again even if you have previously contacted him.
Please, always write as an individual and not as a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (although mentioning your secular views is great). For maximum effectiveness, do not indicate that your letter is in response to this "action alert." You may wish to forward this information to friends; please do not forward this email to the "targets" themselves! If you are a UW alumni, former student, prof, employee, etc., or have been an RA or have them in your family, be sure to identify yourself or mention your connections to the UW. But any Wisconsin taxpayer has standing to chime in on this issue!
Always include your full name and mailing address, even in emails, to ensure that your opinion counts and they know you are a Wisconsin resident. Newspapers require phone numbers and prefer short letters.
Contact UW System President. Ask that he promptly distribute your letter or email to all members of his taskforce on RAs prior to their vote on the policy:
Kevin Reilly, President
University of Wisconsin System
1220 Linden Dr., Rm. 702
Madison WI 53706
Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities
Rep. Robin Kreibich, Chair
PO Box 8952
Madison WI 53708
The hearing is Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005 9-11 a.m., 412 East, State Capitol, Madison. You may not testify but you may attend or register for or again. The hearing does not involve any proposed legislation.
Phone your representative at 1-800-362-9472 or in Madison at 266-9960, or write them c/o of the Capitol (above). Go to www.legis.state.wi.us for additional contact info or to find your representative.