ID Requirements: The Ultimate Hypocrisy of the Left, on and off Campus

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For the past few months, we have heard about how the Obama administration, under the direction of US Attorney Eric Holder, who has been held in contempt by Congress, is suing North Carolina for the new voter ID law that passed and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory. This lawsuit is not only frivolous, but reeks of hypocrisy.

For months, its opponents called many who support the bill racists, oppressors, and anti-minority. However, these ideologues need to examine their own positions on certain issues. For example, a typical argument is that the voter ID laws are inherently racist because it oppresses minorities and people in lower socio-economic classes. According to the NC-DMV, who is in charge of distributing state ID’s:

 “After January 1, 2014, you will be able to apply for a free NC ID card to be used for voting. To qualify, you will need to:

* Prove your age and identity.

* Prove your NC residency.

* Be registered to vote in North Carolina.

* Not have a valid driver license.”

This form of NC ID card will be valid for voting and for identification purposes only. You will apply using the same documents (proof of name, birth date, Social Security, and residency) as listed above.

If that is not enough, enter Obamacare. In the fine print, Obamacare requires an ID to sign up, which is pointed out by many sources, including the Washington Examiner. This means that despite the NC Dems opposition, many of the minorities they claim that conservatives hate, must attain identification either way. By North Carolina Dems own logic, the President’s health care law is racist, oppressive, and anti-minority. Will this impact by our president’s law cause a massive backlash from the liberals in North Carolina? I highly doubt it.

In addition, our very own Student Congress has repeatedly condemned the Governor and his actions, saying that the moves would be “damaging to the Carolina Community,” including moving polling places off campus, despite their 10% turnout rate. The members of Student Congress explicitly stated their anger towards the new voting requirements, and the shortening of number of days for early voting in a resolution passed earlier this year. Ironically, but not surprisingly, Student Congress voted last week to shorten its Student Body Presidential election campaign season by a week. It seems that Student Congress could do with some institutional-awareness.

The left, both on and off campus, constantly accuse conservatives across North Carolina of being racists and oppressive, yet when the ideas come from their side, it is okay. Leftism has never cared about the policy or the results; it is all about protecting their power.

Student Congress Goes After UNC College Republicans

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Chapel Hill- In a seemingly shocking move, the UNC Student Congress voted to cut the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill College Republican’s budget from last year by 75% in one fell swoop.

On Tuesday August 27, 2013, the UNC College Republicans appeared in front of the Student Congress Finance Committee to request an allocation of funds from Student Congress for the upcoming semester. The money (about $8,000) would have covered most of the expenses of two speakers: Katie Pavlich and Ann McElhinny.

Katie Pavlich is a New York Times number one best seller, Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up, and editor of Townhall.com. She is extremely well known for her heated debates against Piers Morgan both in studio and on Twitter regarding gun control. Ms. Pavlich was expected to come speak on current gun issues on campus and across North Carolina

Ann McElhinny is the co-producer, along with her husband, of the movie FrackNation, and known for her work in exposing the hypocrisy of the environmental movement in her previous documentary Mine Your Own Business. Ann is known for her confrontational style and ability to discuss the issue across both ideological lines.

College Republican treasurer Amy Ellmers was there to present the budget in front of Student Congress. After giving her presentation on the budget, she was asked to defend the $8,000 allocation the College Republican Executive Board had request from student congress. Despite the repeated attempts to remind the Finance Committee about the previous successes, including the more than $12,000 spent on procuring the John Stossel and Howard Dean debate, in which close to 600 people came, and Stossel filmed his show for Fox News in the Great Hall the next day, Student Congress arbitrarily cut funding to $3000.

Chair of the College Republicans Peter McClelland and Student Congress member broke down the numbers for the Carolina Review. “The average cut from people that received funds on Tuesday was 14.6%. The Median cut was 4.7%.” He continued, “Our cut was 62.2% from our request. The numbers for last year’s annual appropriations are not readily available on the Congress website, but we had about $12,500, which means this is $24.72% of what was appropriated to us the last time we appeared before Congress.” That constitutes a 75.28% cut! He concluded, “even adjusted to a semester basis, it is a pittance of what was allocated before, 49.44% of per semester allocations.”

The question remains as to why did Student Congress cut most of their funds, even after all the successes of the College Republicans.

Does Student Government Matter?

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This Thursday, the Tea Talks conversation series will be hosting a conversation on the topic, “What Can Student Government Do?” As an inside-the-beltway, student government insider, I feel uniquely qualified to pontificate on this topic, so I will. I’m also intrigued by the topic, because it sounds so much like something out of a Parks and Rec episode.

What can student government do and does student government matter? These are serious questions, especially for the self-anointed elites (myself included) who run student government and who, unlike normal people, care about what student government does.

We’ll start with Student Congress, where I have the privilege of running the Oversight Committee. Student Congress mostly acts like one great big sugar-daddy. Every student pays a $39.00 Student Organizations Fee. About half of that fee is automatically distributed to the Student Union, STV, WXYC, and the Honor Court. The distribution of the rest of the fee is left up to Congress’ discretion. So, every week, student groups come crawling to Congress begging for funding for publications, speakers, programs, trips, etc. Congress then sets about cutting the requests down, checking the excesses, and ensuring that the money is spent responsibly. There are occasional hiccups, but the system works pretty well.

However, Congress’ work does not stop there. We currently operate under a lengthy and cumbersome Student Code. Weighing in at about nearly 100 pages (it used to be much longer), the Code governs the more arcane aspects of student government (legislative, executive, and judicial), things like committee appointments, elections, operating procedures, etc. Most people probably don’t care about these sorts of things and are largely unaffected by them (until they become involved in student government). From my experience, most of student government exists for itself, e.g. there is no ostensible reason why the Executive Branch needs an Arts Advocacy Committee, except that somewhere along the line, some student government bureaucrat thought that this was important, so he created the committee. Likewise, entities like the Student Supreme Court, if you look at past cases, adjudicate legal disputes arising between different student government entities. Occasionally, there’s a case involving a dispute over a fee or something similar, but most of the disputes are procedural and have very narrow application.

"Why Does Student Government Matter? It doesn't."

Not to beat a dead horse, but I think ASG is an example of this in extremis. You have an organization that ostensibly exists to represent student interests to the real decision makers in the UNC System. But what do they do? Precious little. Especially lately, the organization has become so obsessed with its internal procedures and operations, it doesn’t have time for anything else. Its efforts at advocacy are half-hearted. Somehow they managed to endorse the BOG’s plan to increase tuition 13.5% next year, but they also managed to do that without actually asking anyone outside of their organization what they think about the tuition hikes. They had lots of really important meetings to determine the organization’s stance on the issue, but in the end, they accomplished nothing.

So, back to the original question, “What can student government do and does it matter?” I think the answer is that student government can do a lot… about its own internal procedures, but not much else. Student government can do a lot of things that don’t matter, but very few things that do.

Mulligan!

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The Daily Tar Heel is reporting that the Board of Elections may consider “re-doing” the Student Body President race because of some problems with the voting software. There are several things to consider here. The first is the Student Code. In Title I, Chapter 9, Section 902 (10), under the heading of “Responsibilities,” it states, “The BOE shall have the ability to call for a re-election if a violation occurred that might have affected the outcome or compromised the integrity of the election.”

Now, the key word in this passage is “violation”. Does a technological failure that prevented students from voting constitute a violation? It is quite clear that whatever happened “affected the outcome” of the election, as the margin of victory was a mere four votes and the number of affected voters seems to be quite high (with several students apparently being unable to send in a ballot via email because the BOE’s inbox was full of provisional ballots).

However, the Code never actually defines what a violation is in Title I. However, in Title VI, Chapter 7, Section 701 E (4), there is a category of “Technology” violations. According to the Code, “This category shall include but not be limited to campaigning online in illegal ways.” Seeing as the definition here is very broad and there is little other guidance in the Code for a situation like this, one could plausibly interpret the present situation as being a technological violation in Title VI, which would necessitate a re-vote via Title I because of its affect on the outcome of the election.

So, at least in my humble opinion, I believe that a re-election is, in fact, necessary and the proper procedure to follow per the Code. We should not allow technological glitches that prevent students from voting from having a disproportionate impact on the outcome of our elections. While the Code isn’t exactly crystal clear, there is a plausible case to be made for a mulligan.

Young Democrats Request $14,000 for Naomi Wolf… Wait, Who the Hell is Naomi Wolf?

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“Hypocrisy,” says Merriam-Webster is,”a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not.” Nothing could describe the UNC Young Democrats’ recent actions more aptly.

About a month ago, the UNC College Republicans submitted a funding request to the Finance Committee of Student Congress for a $20,000 grant to provide an honorarium for conservative commentator, Ann Coulter. After facing some criticism for the size of the request, CR Chairman Greg Steele agreed to a compromise whereby the CRs would receive a $15,000 grant and a $5000 loan from Congress.

Despite the fact that this request was totally within the normal bounds of funding requests, it was apparently too much for some in Congress. Steele said that he expected the event to draw at least 550 people (and possibly many more). However, some members of Congress still complained that the cost of the event was too high (approximately $27 per person).  Of course, the per person cost of the event could have been much lower if Congress was willing to appropriate an extra $1000 to the group to cover the costs of renting Memorial Hall (with a capacity of about 1500). Instead, members of the Young Democrats moved to cut the grant size to $5000, and the bill was quickly amended to add $10,000 to the fundraising/loan category. Given that the event was scheduled for September 20 (approximately three weeks later), expecting the CRs to raise $15,000 in such a short time span was unrealistic. However, the measure ($5000 grant and $15,000 loan) passed, by a vote of 10-6-6, with the six CRs in Congress abstaining in accordance with Congress’ ethical requirements

The ridiculousness of this “compromise” was evident to nearly everyone on campus (except the YDs apparently). Student Body President Mary Cooper vetoed the funding request saying, “Expecting the group to raise such a large dollar amount for a speaker mostly ex post facto is unrealistic and sets a precedent that I find to be unacceptable.” The YDs continued to complain that Coulter was too polarizing and didn’t contribute to the intellectual debate on campus, but Congress sustained the veto by a vote of 26-1-1. So, the CRs prepared to go before Congress again with a new request.

On September 20, the day Ann Coulter was originally supposed to speak, Steele and the CRs went before the Finance Committee with a new request. It reflected the compromise originally worked out between the group and the Finance Committee (a $15,000 grant and $5000 loan) and passed with one dissenting vote.

At the next meeting of Congress on September 27, the CRs again ran into stiff wall of liberal intolerance. Reiterating their complaints about how dumb Ann Coulter is and how expensive she is, the YDs led the charge against the funding request. Ignoring the efforts the CRs made to accommodate Congress’ concerns (including making tickets only available to students and agreeing not to submit another request for money in the spring), the body killed the request on a 6-8-13 vote.

As if this couldn’t get any better, there’s another wrinkle in the story. Today, the YDs submitted a request for $14,000 to bring in Naomi Wolf. Now, I consider myself fairly well-informed when it comes to American politics, but I had no idea who this person was until I Googled her name. She looks to be some sort of radical feminist who’s a part of the George-Bush-is-a-fascist parade.

This is ironic, first because the YDs (and many others) claimed that Ann Coulter was “too divisive” and not an intellectual. From what I can tell, this woman, who’s written all of two books, has very little to add in the way of intellectual debate and is merely a liberal flamethrower. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she’s sort of liberal Hayek, but based on my initial impressions, their choice in speaker is highly ironic.

Second, their request is nearly identical in size to the CRs’ request, yet the YDs predict that their speaker will affect roughly 80% fewer people than Ann Coulter. According to their request, they expect about 100 people to show up to this event, at a cost of $140 per person, making it roughly five times more expensive than the Coulter event. For all of you keeping track, the CRs have received exactly $0.00 from Congress this year.

The audacity of this request is breath-taking. After spending the last month condescendingly lecturing the CRs about not spending all of Congress’ money in one place, I certainly didn’t see this one coming. That they could spend a month criticizing the CRs for the size of the Coulter request, all while planning on submitting a similar request for their own speaker requires the willing suspension of disbelief. If the YDs were truly concerned about the size of the funding request, they would not have submitted a similarly large request mere days after rejecting the CRs’ request. It is now clear that opposition to the Coulter event was grounded only in political ideology and had nothing to do with the size of the price tag.