Conservative students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are outraged over their student government’s decision to slash the yearly budget for the College Republicans while awarding extra funds to campus liberal groups.
UNC’s Student Congress is tasked with allocating funding to student groups from a pool of money consisting of mandatory student fees. While no group can be denied funding based on its viewpoint, student government members do have discretion to give more funding to groups and events that they believe will enrich the campus community.
The College Republicans had asked for $8,000 to bring conservative speakers Katie Pavlich and Ann McElhinny to campus. This was already $4,000 less than what the group had asked for–and received–the previous year, noted club chairman Peter McClelland.
But the student government’s finance committee decided to give the students a mere $3,000, forcing them to cut one of the two speakers.
Since the College Republicans are one of the only conservative groups on campus, the decision deprives the campus of much-needed alternative viewpoints, argued McClelland.
“A cut…. just smacks in the face of anything we thought was justifiable if we value intellectual diversity on this campus,” said McClelland in an interview with The Daily Caller.
Liberal groups, on the other hand, received more funding. Siren Womyn Empowerment Magazine, a feminist organization, received $5,100. And “UNControllables”–an anarchist group that discusses ways to fight capitalism, according to UNC’s website–received $4,000.
The College Democrats did not receive a funding cut, according to The College Fix.
The College Republicans have appealed the finance committee’s decision to the full Student Congress, which could vote to restore funding. McClelland hopes that student congressmen will recognize the value of bringing conservative speakers to a traditionally liberal campus.
“Students do want to hear both sides and we consider that when we pick speakers. Our two speakers are very engaging,” he said.
Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said that it was difficult to determine whether the finance committee had violated conservative students’ Constitutional rights.
“The student government can’t give the College Republicans less money because they don’t like Republican views,” he said in an interview with The Daily Caller. “[But] they can make judgment calls on the quality of the event. It’s a tough evaluation to make.”
The Student Congress will revisit the the College Republicans’ funding on Tuesday.