The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday June 10th

College Republicans to seek new speaker after $20,000 request denied

After full funding to bring Republican pundit Ann Coulter to campus was denied for a second time by Student Congress Tuesday, leaders of the College Republicans said they will likely look for speakers with smaller price tags.

Greg Steele, chairman of College Republicans, said his group has given up on funding a visit from Coulter, at least from student fees.

“We certainly cannot have the event if the University continually fails to support one of the largest student groups on campus,” Steele said in an email.

The most recent request for a $15,000 grant coupled with a $5,000 loan was denied by full Student Congress, though it had been approved by the finance committee a week before.

The request fell short by a vote of six to eight, with 13 representatives abstaining. Many representatives said they felt the request was too large.

District six representative Leah Josephson said she voted against the College Republicans’ request because it was such a large percentage of the body’s total budget.

She said the group had also not named any co-sponsors to help fund the event — a measure usually taken by organizations seeking such high-profile speakers.

Steele said he was upset by Student Congress’ decision, but added that the group would continue to look for external donations to fund the event.

“We were hoping to bring a large name to campus in order to increase the profile of our University,” Steele said.

He said the group has lined up less notable Republican politicians, including Pat McCrory and Dale Peterson.

In a typical year, College Republicans might make separate requests that can each total more than $5,000. Making a single, larger request had the potential to be cheaper, Steele said.

He added that he believed Coulter would have brought a large audience, and that his group had already started a fundraising effort to pay back a loan from Student Congress.

Student Body President Mary Cooper said she wasn’t surprised that the request didn’t pass because of its size.

“I didn’t know what to expect — it was a lot of money,” she said.

Cooper added that she didn’t think the body’s decision was politically motivated. Allocating such a large amount of money from student fees to one speaker and one group alone would not be fair, she said.

Jared Simmons, chairman of the finance committee of Student Congress, which approved the $20,000 request, said the committee has never denied or allocated funds on the basis of political beliefs.

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