Chapel Hill- Despite what some students have claimed, UNC Student Congress has a deep and long history of blatant bias against the College Republicans and conservative ideals on campus. In the past four years, there have been numerous attempts to condemn and silence such beliefs.
The rocky history with Student Congress began back in the fall of 2011. The then board of the College Republicans requested a large sum of $15,000 in order to bring Ann Coulter. Student Congress refused to fund her and offered instead to give the College Republicans $5,000 and make the College Republicans raise the additional $10,000. Some alumni who were on the board, on conditions of anonymity, have claimed that cut occurred “based on her views” and recall her views being “the focal point of the debate.” This is a direct violation of the Student Code. All the while, approving funding for MSBNC anchor Richard Wolffe sponsored by the Young Democrats, while the university’s official lecture series during that academic year sponsored John Kerry, David Simon, and Kevin Phillips. During that year, another left-leaning group had Robert Gibbs come give a speech. The College Republicans attempted to raise the $10,000 but it could not reach the required amount in the designated time. Coulter never came to campus.
Despite the setbacks, however, the College Republicans were determined to get conservative ideas a place on campus. The following semester, the College Republicans did receive an allocation of $10,000, after the fallout from the Coulter controversy, to bring Herman Cain to campus. Cain did come to campus. Despite a severe scheduling conflict, his speech was moved from 7 P.M. to 4 P.M on a Thursday afternoon, the five-hundred-person auditorium was packed and there were no empty seats. Herman Cain gave his speech, focusing on his 9-9-9 plan and the event was success. It’s safe to safe that the College Republicans made every penny count!
The next board had just as much success. In the fall of 2012, the College Republicans requested $25,000 but received $12,500 to host a debate between John Stossel and former DNC Chair Howard Dean. The two men were asked to debate the role of government in a free society. The College Republicans were granted the allocation and brought the event to campus. The event was wildly successful as well. The event was held in the Great Hall of the Student Union where over 500 chairs had been placed. Despite that, there were people still trying to enter and many were standing in the wings.
During this period, however, Student Congress returned to its assault on conservative ideals on campus. It began with a discussion on the topic of energy on the form of the “coal divestment” push that has been advancing across campuses. Instead of allowing for free market based solutions, Student Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the divestment (26-4). One of the speakers, Ann McElhinney, producer of FrackNation, was asked to speak on this topic, as well as fracking, which also encounters extreme hostilities on campus.
Student Congress in this period, also passed a resolution in support of granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. The resolution was essentially useless, because the conservative legislature had shown no willingness to pass such a measure.
The next assault came in the form of an outright attempt to defund and effectively cripple Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol, the Second Amendment club, on campus. Due to a personal bias, the gun club could have seen a devastating attack on their ability to function, but in the end, the club was spared. Katie Pavlich, editor of Townhall and the person responsible for breaking Fast and Furious, was asked to come speak about gun rights and pro-gun philosophy for the College Republicans.
Now, on September 3, the College Republicans will head in front of the Full Committee to protest the arbitrary cuts to their budget. “The cut proposed by certain members of Student Congress is, in my view, absolutely and completely arbitrary,” member Tommy Lasater said. The Student Code specifically states that a number of things should be accounted for when allocating funding, including the number of people the event is supposed to attract, the number of events and people involved in the past, and the educational value towards the community. Based upon this and also considering the College Republicans outstanding successes in the past, it’s impossible to find any justification in the cuts Finance Committee made.
Chair and Congress member Peter McClelland summed up the sentiments of the fight, “the College Republicans have a history of successes that goes back many years, despite Student Congress’s continued assaults against conservative groups.” He continued, “My board and I stand united against accepting any half-hearted measure meant to save face rather than address the systemic and historical bias that has harmed conservative and Right-Leaning groups.” He finished by exclaiming, “From Coulter on down we have seen Congress’s animosity towards the College Republicans and similar groups, and we are down backing down.”