UNC Student Congress’s Rocky History with the College Republicans

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.”

5 comments

  1. “Instead of allowing for free market based solutions, Student Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the divestment (26-4).”

    The free market is spending enormous sums on curing male baldness and a pittance, by contrast, on curing malaria. The free market always knows what is best!

  2. Dear Fred, (and anyone else who condemn the free market in favor of a government-controlled one) I apologize in advance for this very lengthy message, it’s just that I have finally decided that I have too quiet for too long.

    Even if what you say about the free market is true, that’s kind of the point of the free market: to allow the people of this country to choose what to spend money on, and not have their funds handled by other people who have placed themselves in authority over them (A.K.A. “the government”). It seems to me that you think that our “government” (or as I choose to call it, “the system”) is or should be responsible for the inner workings of this country. I respect you and your opinion, and I am not going to attack you, just your view (if that is your view) so please do not take offense.

    Have you noticed how it is so common and accepted to refer to the government simply as “the government” and leave it at that? This should not be so. The reason this country exists was to provide a reasonable and free place of residence FOR THE PEOPLE, not so that there would be room for a totalitarian regime to move in (not that I believe our system is a totalitarian regime–yet). Government in America doesn’t mean a collection of authority figures. Our government means the people working together through direct representation to achieve their societal goals. America’s government was intended from the start to be a collection of the people to represent the people, not a collection of self-sustainable, self-serving authoritative figures. Our “government” shifted from being comprised of and dependent on the people, to being comprised of the “government” and dependent only on itself. Our government is broken, diseased, and swollen so egregiously it is beyond recognition of what it was meant to be. Unfortunately, current trends by those within it who hold the power show that this is only going to escalate exponentially. Who knows, in a few years to say what I am saying now might be punishable by imprisonment or even worse punishments. I have faith, however, in the remaining Americans who still seem to understand that the power to influence this country should lie in their own hands and not some secretive, incomprehensible, commanding, mass of authority will not allow this to happen in the near future. Unfortunately, the current situation requires a lot more than stemming back the flow of tyranny, it requires a reworking of the system itself.

    Take, for example of our government’s brokenness, the three branches of the American government. They were created equals: the Legislative, the Judicial, and the Executive. Today, however, it seems that the Executive has promoted itself to be the leader of the other two, giving itself near complete command over the entire country. This reflects perfectly how twisted and warped our system has become. Another example is the uninvited intrusion of the self-proclaimed authority into the daily lives of its citizens. We can no longer browse the web, email our loved ones, make phone calls, and lead daily lives without wondering if some agent of the system is listening in on our call, supposedly scanning for terrorism. The justification for this today is to prevent terrorism. Tomorrow, however, it will be to prevent dissension and liberty. I do not deny the existence of terrorism, however, I stand with Benjamin Franklin when he says that “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    So let’s examine the cause for why we are on this downward spiral. Why have we the American people not only allowed the government to transform itself from being citizens like us who serve us, the people (since the people is the reason this country exists) to becoming what it is today? The answer lies almost wholly in this country’s shift in culture over the past century. If there ever exists in the future a nation as free as we were in our prime, they will talk about how this culture change was the catalyst for the downfall of the freest and most noble country on the planet to date. This change I am talking about is has nothing to do with civil liberties or with adopting a tolerance for the differences in others. It purely has to do with the rise of the age of entertainment and mass consumerism. Americans have sloughed off their duty to run their own country to chase after the material advantages that this day and age present to us. We have willingly entrusted the keys of authority to a system that has since grown into something we can no longer recognize. Think of how much time we spend a day engrossing ourselves in the entertainment that today’s technology has to offer. Before this shift began, Americans did not spend their days endlessly entertaining themselves but did their ever-so-essential part in making their home country a place where they knew they could live peacefully since their individual voices were heard and recognized in the workings of the nation. These voices have since, however, died out. Americans no longer play their part. There is only silence from them as the system that once yielded to them grows over them. At the beginning, one can hardly blame the government for responding to a lack of input by the people by taking on more responsibility. If the American people would not do the work, who would? The government responded. Things are quickly getting out of hand, though, as the system continuously stretches its hand out further and further each day to make up for the lack of effort by the people. The system may not yet have in its goals complete totalitarianism or communism or whatever other suggestions my fellow Conservatives may make, but one day it will ask itself “I can, so why not?” After all, this system is made up of imperfect people like you and me after all. I know that given the ability and means I myself and quite capable of great atrocity. Please take time to consider those last few sentences, as I believe they are essential to my argument and contain truths relevant to much more than the integrity needed to run a country. I want you to know that this lecture is not merely a repetition of conservative lectures I could have received from family or school. I have adopted these ideas and views almost entirely on my own from my observations of this country and its people.

    In summary, I do not contend that the old system where the people ran the government was perfect, BUT IT WAS BECAUSE THE FOUNDERS KNEW THAT THEY COULDN’T MAKE A PERFECT SYSTEM THAT THEY CREATED A GOVERNMENT THAT WAS DEPENDENT ON THE PEOPLE. The people would keep each other and the government in check, like accountability partners. It’s a beautifully imperfect system that relies on all parts to support each other. Let me refer back to the three branches. They are so horribly skewed today. Picture a three-legged stool. Can it stand when one leg has grown much too large while the others have shrunk in its presence? In this world full of imperfection, we need a government that relies on imperfection. We need accountability, we need integrity, we need unyielding values. The alternative is the growth of a single, overpowered party that wipes away all dissension and diversity in belief.

    If I could talk to the people who run the system today, I would not berate them or yell at them or accuse them, I would simply present my view on what is wrong with our country and offer to help them correct it. While tension between the parties is necessary for this country to exist, that doesn’t mean we should not band together at some point to ensure that the freedom to have more than one party may exist in the future.

    I hope you enjoyed reading about my opinion on America. I know it’s an imperfect opinion, but I like it. I have felt these things for a while now, I just finally received the inspiration to organize and articulate them.

    P.S. Remember when I said I respect your opinion? I really do, and that’s much, much more than the system is going to offer in regards to differing opinions in a few years.

    1. @Imperfect. Thank you for respecting my opinion, but I believe you have misconstrued what it is since you addressed me and “anyone else who condemn the free market in favor of a government-controlled one”.

      I’m certainly critical of ideologies and policies that I think excessively rely on free markets to solve problems, but I do not argue “in favor of a government-controlled” market. I basically look at the evidence around the world for what creates peaceful, flourishing, and just societies. Contrary to what you said, I don’t believe government-control of the economy achieves that. In some areas, I think evidence overwhelming shows free markets work best, in other areas, it’s the government that has the best record. In most, it’s a combination.

      I would point to Singapore as a great example of this- having been a former colony with high poverty and then fairly rapidly reaching significant wealth and high standards of living. Singapore certainly used markets to help- but they weren’t free markets crusaders who thought markets were always the answer. The mix of using markets and government depending on what works is a large reason why their healthcare system is one of the best in the world- and they now have lower infant mortality and longer life spans than the USA. And about 80% of their residents also live in public housing. They show markets can help you make enormous achievements, but the government can also effectively and intelligently be utilized to get there. I would point to the Nordic countries as similarly using a smart mix of free markets and government intervention to create largely peaceful, innovative, and just societies. (And I think a just society would spend more on curing malaria than on solving male baldness.)

      I agree with you our government is imperfect and should be improved. Because we as citizens make up the government, I see no one else to blame for its shortcomings other than we the people. Same for corporations operating in the markets- they are composed of real people. I hope we all work diligently to make government work best for everyone, just as I hope shareholders of companies work to make their companies successful.

      I do disagree that the government will not respect my opinion if it differs from theirs. Why? Because I’ve given my differing opinion to countless government officials and agencies, and I’ve received personal, respectful responses from every level of government. Not every interaction with government has been flawless, but it also hasn’t been uniformly unresponsive or disrespectful of me as you seem to believe is the case.

      1. Thank you for responding cordially, I am sorry that you had to get caught in my ramblings like that, I wasn’t even directing it at you as much as I just wanted to get my opinion out there, I guess. But that last comment by me was probably more a product of me feeling pretty dramatic at the time than me coherently writing what I really believe. Things probably aren’t quite as bad as I like to make them out to be, that’s something I need to work on. And thanks for your input too, I can really see the truth in some of your points as well.

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