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The regents have approved a withdrawal fee for the Montana Public Interest Research Group, commonly known as MontPIRG.
The student group is a non-partisan organization that seeks to bring about “positive change by educating and empowering the next generation of civic leaders,” according to its website.
He’s been at the University of Montana for almost 40 years and provides opportunities for engagement and citizenship for students, said Helen Thigpen, executive director of government relations and public affairs for the Montana university system. The group is financially supported by an optional student contribution.
“One important thing to keep in mind is that this is a withdrawal fee, which means that students specifically have to decline to pay these fees,” Thigpen said.
Typically, MontPIRG is included in the biennial budget recommendation following the legislative session. However, due to the controversy surrounding Senate Bill 319, the Office of the Higher Education Commissioner recommended not including it this year.
Governor Greg Gianforte enacted Senate Bill 319 in May. The bill imposes membership restrictions rather than exclusion at the expense of student organizations that are required to register as political committees. It was challenged in two separate trials. The University of Montana is not a party to any of the lawsuits.