Conservatives Need Not Apply

Whether it’s the athletic scandal, the firing of UNC System President Tom Ross, or any of the other scandals that have recently been hitting our University, it seems that the University of North Carolina system, and UNC-Chapel Hill in particular, is incapable of going more than a few weeks without being negatively featured in the news. This time, the scandal involves the Chancellor’s Office and the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor (SACC).

Last week, on Tuesday, January 27, Chancellor Carol Folt, Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp, and the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor co-hosted a dinner with 40 student leaders from student organizations across the campus. The topic of the evening’s discussion was diversity and progress towards the future of our University. This seems innocent enough, but the event’s organizers made one glaring omission.  Not a single conservative student organization was invited. No one representing the UNC College Republicans, the Carolina Review, Carolina Students for Life, UNC Young Americans for Liberty (the campus libertarian club), the Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club, Christians United For Israel, or any other right leaning student group heard a word about this dinner until an article in the Daily Tar Heel came out the next day in which SACC Member Ioan Bolohan described the dinner as “an inclusive event which gave students the opportunity to voice their opinions, share their concerns and engage with other student leaders to collaborate and get ideas in front of administrators”.

Unfortunately, conservative opinions were not present to be voiced that evening. The Carolina Review reached out to Chancellor Folt and Student Body Vice President Kyle Villemain on Wednesday requesting a list of those who attended as well as an explanation of why no conservative student organizations were invited to add their viewpoints to the discussion. The Chancellor and Mr. Villemain responded to our inquiry on Friday afternoon.  Chancellor Folt told us that this was just the beginning of the dialogue on this issue and that all viewpoints would be welcome in future discussions. She also set up a meeting for next Wednesday with College Republican Chairman and our Editor-in-Chief, Frank Pray. Kyle Villemain responded shortly after the Chancellor and produced the requested list.  It confirmed that no conservative student organization leaders had been invited.  Alex Johnson, Chairwoman of UNC Young Americans for Liberty, the campus’ ideologically libertarian club, was quick to respond to the lack of representation for those on the right at the dinner.  “I am extremely disappointed in the University’s decisions to not include all types of diverse voices on our campus.  It seems to me that only one type of political perspective is being included or recognized on campus while the student body, itself, is actually quite diverse in opinions.” Her opinion is not alone, either.

Peter McClelland, Chairman Emeritus of the UNC College Republicans and current Chairman of the Log Cabin Republicans of North Carolina says that this type of exclusion has been the norm for quite some time. “In my nearly four years in this campus’ conservative movement,” Peter explains, “I have never met an administrator who made an effort to bring conservative voices into discussions about the future of the University.” This type of exclusion is antithetical to the stated ideals of the Chancellor about our University being intellectually diverse.

The status quo of intellectual uniformity leaves much to be desired, often making conservative students feel unwanted on campus. “Conservative students often feel that they must keep their heads down to protect their grades or friendships, and it’s beyond time for our University to look towards creating a place for the free exchange of ideas,” says McClelland. This culture of intellectual diversity must be fostered if Carolina is to remain a prestigious institution of higher learning. Chancellor Folt’s stated goal of intellectual diversity is admirable, but she and the rest of the University administration must do more than pay mere lip service.  We must change the status quo to tell all North Carolinians that UNC-Chapel Hill is a place where students come to be exposed to all viewpoints and to feel comfortable sharing theirs.  If not, we might as well send young conservatives the message that they need not apply.

-Frank Pray

Editor-in-Chief

7 thoughts on “Conservatives Need Not Apply

  • I’m sending this from a friend because he accurately contextualizes your “status quo of intellectual uniformity” issue as your explicit disregard of (and perpetuation of) the historical and current oppression of people of color on this campus, in North Carolina, and in our general society:

    “Chancellor Folt absolutely tokenized a room full of POC and marginalized identities in order to keep this University “progressive”, and the CR is upset that she did not invite a conservative representative to show intolerance for many of the ideas expressed; or are upset with how this was one time in recorded history the white, conservative elite we’re not invited to the dinner table. Let’s not forget how often their privilege gains conservative Republicans in this state access to higher administration, most times to counter the ambitions and desires of students of color, women, first generation students, etc.”

  • Dear CR Daily,

    As someone who attended the dinner I want to respond by setting a few things straight. However, first I would like to say that I am speaking as an individual, not as a representative of the group I am a leader of (thus my invitation). These are purely my own opinions.

    For the record, there were not any political groups invited. It wasn’t a conversation about politics, it was about students, and political affiliations have nothing to do with responding to the institutional racism or sexism that makes students feel unsafe on campus. That is what gave rise to this dinner, racial discrimination (*Hurston* aka Saunders Hall) and sexual discrimination (campus sexual assault). You can feel marginalized for your political affiliation. I completely understand that as a frequently conservative learning person who was raised in a conservative household (my parents are Blue Dog Democrats, my grandparents are Republicans). However my allegiance lies with my identity group and what is best for them — Black and Female– not a political party. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have proven that I should completely align with them.

    If you really want to go there, neither liberal nor conservative leaning groups serve people who are discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sex, or sexual orientation well. “Progressives” can be hypocrites too. White progressives are dangerous to Black causes just like straight (or even gay re: the gay white men’s marriage equality movement) progressives can be dangerous to sexual minority causes.This is why minority rights movements emerge; not all movements serve the people who fall under their umbrella re: Feminism vs. Black Feminism. If you feel excluded, that’s fair, but hijacking the rhetoric of those who are legitimately fighting for civil rights on campus is not the way to accomplish your goal of being invited to the table. Additionally, not everyone in the room was a Democrat or even a liberal. The author is assuming that if you’re a student leader that you can’t be a republican or anything other than progressive-identified. There were at least 4 republican student leaders in the room one of whom actually led the round table I was at and another happens to be Student Body President… Step back and actually talk to the people who were in the room if you want to get critical, but at the end of the day, throwing a temper tantrum will get you no where.

  • This is but another small crack in the facade of progressivism.
    (voice of Romeo), ”The light though yonder hole” reveals the true deceit and held for “equality”, the absurdity of their revulsion against “micro-aggressions”, and the ease of hypocrisy when it suits.

  • This is but another small crack in the facade of progressivism.
    (voice of Romeo), ”The light though yonder hole” reveals the true deceit and held for “equality”, the absurdity of their revulsion against “micro-aggressions”, and the ease of hypocrisy when it suits.

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