Candidates Struggle with Question on Conservative Carolina Faculty

By: Associate Editor Alec Dent

Room 3503 was standing room only this past Wednesday, as dozens of students came out to watch the three student body presidential candidates explain their positions in the College Republicans’ and Young Democrats’ co-sponsored debate.

The hour-long debate was, for the most part, uneventful. The candidates, Bradley Opere, John Taylor, and Wilson Sink, answered questions posed by the heads of the College Republicans and Young Democrats. Their stances differed very little, with all candidates favoring gender-neutral bathrooms, coal divestment, and increased attention paid to preventing sexual assault.

The most telling point in the debate came after Frank Pray, the College Republicans chairman, questioned the candidates on how they would help conservative faculty feel safe to share their opinions. The question was met with silence. The candidates had thought so carefully about how to make all groups feel welcome on campus; racial minorities, women, the LGBT community, and yet conservatives, the political minority in Carolina academia, were completely forgotten.

The silence continued for several moments before Taylor spoke up.

“We have got to protect the unbiased nature of the education we receive here.” He then went on to say “I want to press the administration so we have a good balance of political backgrounds [among the faculty].”

His response almost guaranteed him the College Republicans’ nomination (which he was awarded at the end of the evening), especially after the other two candidates shared their views.

Sink gave a very vague and general response, saying, “It’s important to make sure all opinions can see the light.”

Opere’s response? “I think liberal faculty need protection.”

While not a right-winger himself, Taylor still recognized the importance of creating a truly open and diverse candidate. While Opere dropped phrases like “patriarchal language,” and Sink called for the Republican General Assembly to be voted out, Taylor demonstrated a keen understanding of how to include people of all backgrounds in the Carolina community.

 

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