A Law for Thee, But Not For Me

CRDaily

There seems to be a great deal of controversy swirling around Psalm 100’s decision to expel Will Thomason from the group because of differences in opinion over homosexuality. But I think the controversy is occurring for all the wrong reasons. Most of UNC’s chattering class are naturally talking about how Christians hold archaic views on homosexuality and hate gay people. Not particularly original, and not particularly interesting.

But let’s take a look at the Student Code, specifically Title V, Section 109, which reads

Funding decisions for programs, services, or events shall be made without regard to the viewpoints expressed.

According to Section 202, there are four criteria that “should be used in judging the worthiness of any group to receive funding.” Those are

A.  Representation.  SC should consider the  number of students affected  and  the  number of students involved in a project.  SC should try to anticipate this representation by looking  at past involvement, enthusiasm for the  program, current  opinions about  the  program, and  the  amount of involvement anticipated by the organization.

B. Vitality.   SC should consider how  vital  a program is to the organization.  Criteria to be considered should be the priority of the program in relation to other  programs sponsored by the organization,whether or not it is in part  a fundraising program, and  how it would affect the morale of the organization.

C. Specialization.  The Congress should consider how  unique a program is to the  Student Body. It should consider the cultural/educational value  of the program, whether or not it overlaps another program on campus, the amount of recognition it brings  to the University, and  the identification it has with the organization.

D.  Generated Funds, i.e. outside income.

Note that none of these criteria concern the political correctness of a group’s constitution (which, incidentally, must be submitted every year to the Division of Student Affairs for approval).

Now let’s turn to recent events. In the DTH article, Jared Simmons, Chair of the Finance Committee, says that “any uncertainty surrounding the group’s student organization status could give him authority to apply further scrutiny to their [Psalm 100’s] requests.”  This “rule” cannot actually be found anywhere in the Code. Title V, Section 106 stipulates that only groups recognized by UNC’s Division of Student Affairs (which Psalm 100 is) may spend student government appropriations. Uncertainty about the group’s future status does not allow Congress to apply extra scrutiny to such groups’ funding requests. Especially considering that no official review of Psalm 100’s status has been announced, it might be prudent for the Finance Committee to refrain from apply “further scrutiny” until such time as Psalm 100’s recognition is actually revoked.

Apparently, some people are above the law

Equally troubling is the tendency for some members of Congress to openly flaunt the above-mentioned rules. Foremost among these is Leah Josephson, District 6 Representative. As you’ll see in the above screenshot, she has pledged “no more funding if i [sic] have anything to do with it.” While Ms. Josephson is entitled to her own opinion, as a member of Congress (and of the Finance Committee), she is required to abide by the funding standards set forth in the Code. Pledging to ensure that a group receives no funding because you disagree with their political/religious beliefs is expressly forbidden by the Code (in addition to the ethical concerns involved) and sets you up for nice, fat lawsuit when the group is denied funding.

While members of our august body may have differences in opinion over Psalm 100’s decision to expel one of its members, such differences in opinion do not allow Congress to cut off access to (or threaten to cut off access to) student government funds. Every student at this university pays into the student government funding pot, and every student at this university has a right to that funding, provided that the criteria set forth in the Code are met. Threatening to cut off access to these resources over political differences is just as bad as expelling someone from your group over political differences. To do so is not only unethical, it is illegal.

A Response to the Clevinger Letter

CRDaily

As I am not sure when (or if) the Daily Tar Heel will publish the response I sent in to Mr. Clevinger’s Letter to the Editor, I have decided to publish my response below.

As UNC’s resident Robert Novak-in-training, I read with great amusement Mr. Clevinger’s letter criticizing my recent article on ASG in the Carolina Review. Given ASG’s past attempts to intimidate me into silence, it comes as no surprise that they would once again attempt to trample on my First Amendment rights. So, while Mr. Clevinger implores me to look at NC General Statues 84-4 and 84-5 (both of which only apply to me if I attempt to practice law), I implore him (and all the other officers of ASG) to read the First Amendment, which guarantees my right to criticize the organization, especially when its integrity is in question.

Me, in about 60 years

Further overlooking Mr. Clevinger’s failure to address any of my arguments about ASG’s suspect lobbying activities, he would do well to consult a dictionary before he writes his next letter. He accuses me of “defamation and slander,” whereas he should have accused me of defamation and libel, considering that my criticism was expressed in a written article. I’ll further note that Mr. Clevinger’s supposed “service” to students is neither requested nor appreciated. While I have no problem with people attempting to pad their law school applications, I have a problem when people do so with my money. But let me be clear, in spite of Mr. Clevinger’s blatant scare tactics, I will not be intimidated, I will not be silenced, and I will not back down.

My Solution For “Irresponsible” Rhetoric

CRDaily

This whole attempt by the Left to pin the Arizona shooting on Sarah Palin really doesn’t surprise me. Given their outright hatred of her, I suppose it was only a matter of time before they tried to accuse her murder (special shout-out to Paul Krugman). However, Rush Limbaugh also appears to have been involved. According to Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Limbaugh “attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior… is not without consequences.” Ignoring Dupnik’s rather obvious rip-off of Bill Clinton’s attempt to pin the Oklahoma City bombing on Limbaugh and ignoring the fact that no evidence exists to support such an assertion, that got me thinking.

I do believe that we are approaching this all the wrong way. Operating under the assumption that Krugman and Dupnik are right on this (i.e. Limbaugh and Palin cause acts of political violence), the Left thinks these acts of violence can be solved by silencing the Right. Given their very obvious failure to silence people like Limbaugh and Palin, I think the Left should engage in some self-censorship. Because if people like Krugman and Dupnik just shut up and went home to hide in their basements, Limbaugh and Palin would not have anyone to criticize. And if there was no one to criticize, to whom could Limbaugh and Palin direct their “irresponsible vitriol”? Since the Right is obviously too immature to engage in such self-censorship, the Left should take the moral high ground and just cede the country to the Right. There would be no more vitriol, no more political extremism, and no more political violence. As an added plus, the United States would also experience full-employment and unprecedented GDP growth. So the direction for the Left is clear: shut up and go home.

UNC Hits a New Low

CRDaily

Apparently, the celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall is too controversial for some people. After spending about 4-5 hours constructing a replica of the Berlin Wall to celebrate the 21st anniversary of its fall today, I can say that I was extremely disappointed when I discovered that someone had lifted the wall this morning.

For those interested in the facts of the case, the final construction of the wall was completed last night around 8:00pm. The final size was about 6ft x 6ft. It was rather bulky and likely would have required at least two people to move. The wall was last seen at about 6:30am this morning by the morning shift for Rams’ Head Dining Hall. I discovered that the wall was missing at about 9:15am.

I think that this serves as a rather sad commentary on the state of political discourse at UNC. Can we not all acknowledge that the destruction of the Berlin Wall was a good thing, signaling the end of one of history’s most oppressive and totalitarian regimes? Can we not acknowledge that the world is a better place without the Soviet Union in it? Perhaps this is not even the issue. Perhaps the significance of the wall as the penultimate example of the failure of central planning, the misery that socialism inevitably entails, and the inability of centrally managed governments to provide even for the most basic needs of their citizens is the real problem here. Perhaps those who stole our wall are so blinded by ideology that they cannot even comprehend the walls that they have built within their own minds. But perhaps what is even more disturbing is that this university still cannot provide an environment where the free exchange of ideas is possible.

SDS President, DTH Columnist and Candidate for Chapel Hill Mayor Implicated in Theft of the Carolina Review

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Last spring, some of our staff members noticed that large stacks of our April 2009 issue had gone missing overnight from newsstands in the Undergraduate Library and Hamilton Hall. Considering that this was during exams week, we at the Review doubted that they had all been taken legitimately. We had a long list of possible suspects with a motive to make our April 2009 issue disappear, as the issue had been highly critical of a number of individuals and campus groups. However, we had no evidence of anything.

Until now. One of the groups criticized in the issue was Students for a Democratic Society (“Chapel Hill Hooligans Strike Again”, p. 21). Facebook photos obtained by the Carolina Review show Ben Carroll, the president of Students for a Democratic Society and write-in candidate for Mayor of Chapel Hill, along with Daily Tar Heel columnist Dominic Powell and a third individual, Scott Williams, standing in a pile of destroyed copies of the April 2009 issue of Carolina Review drinking beer and painting their living room. Hundreds of copies of Carolina Review (paid for by your student fee money) were apparently destroyed.

Considering the newsworthiness of this behavior by a candidate for public office, CRdaily is publishing some of the photographs below in order to inform our readers that a mayoral candidate is involved in destroying property, suppressing freedom of the press and censoring dissenting opinions.

These photographs also show how members of Students for a Democratic Society are engaged in a sustained effort to suppress the first amendment rights of those who they disagree with. Last spring, the engaged in violence for political ends against speakers whom they disagreed with. This fall, the Daily Tar Heel was targeted and vandalized with a “special anti-racist issue” placed over their papers. The DTH reacted strongly, even reportedly calling the police and attacked the vandals on their editorial page. Now, we have a staff member from the Daily Tar Heel apparently engaged in even worse behavior.

Update: The students involved have been informed that a complaint has been filed against them in the UNC Honor Court system. The student attorney general will decide by the end of next week whether to file formal charges.

Far Right: Ben Carroll, SDS president and candidate for mayor of Chapel Hill.
Center: Dominic Powell, DTH columnist.

Media and Obama have first fight of marriage; Obama will be sleeping on the couch tonight

CRDaily

The Treasury recently attempted to exclude Fox News from a network pool interview of Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg. Apparently, when Fox was not invited to the session, bureau chiefs from the usually liberal ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC (Yes, NBC!) collaborated and eventually decided to not allow their reporters to interview Feinberg without Fox being permitted to attend.

This is just the latest in an ongoing feud between the Obama administration and the cable giant. Some claim the network revolt to be a huge victory for the press and a major embarrassment for the president. Others, however, have pointed to the pool’s contractual agreement in which all members must be invited for the pool to be interviewed.

Whether out of outrage or technicality, the media stood up for their counterpart, even though Fox is largely their nemesis. Whiny rhetoric about Fox News has been spewing from the White House since January, but attempting to keep out a representative of the most-watched news agency in the country is crossing the line.

The major networks put aside their ideological differences and behaved like Americans should on Thursday. Regardless of your views on the state of the nation or the opinions of certain political commentators, we should never wish to see a group of people silenced. Fox may not be as “fair and balanced” as they claim, but they undoubtedly deserve a place at the table.

The media has long been a check on government. This fact may not be supported by the Constitution, yet it is clear every time we turn on the television. It is the job of Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs and Rachel Maddow to be critical. People want to be alerted when their government is out-of-bounds. So when the Treasury tries to prohibit the press from holding them accountable, we should be appalled. Thankfully, other networks saw the injustices of such actions and responded accordingly.

I am reassured by this story; it makes me feel good deep down. This was not a question of the trivialities of health care or troop numbers in Afghanistan, but instead a direct attack on one of our most sacred rights: the ability to be informed. The people of the United States won here. We will not stand for this Nixon-like assault on our freedom. Let’s hope this sends a message all the way to Obama himself. Censorship has no place in America today.