The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday May 27th

Student Congress doles out $40,000 after debate over speaker fees

The finance committee of Student Congress approved more than $40,000 in funding requests from student groups Tuesday.

The main points of contention among the committee members were speaker fee requests from the Carolina Review and the Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club.

Committee member Lisa Heimbach, a representative from district 10, objected to $5,000 of the magazine’s $13,095 request. It planned to use the $5,000 to bring conservative feminist Christina Hoff Sommers to campus for a speech.

“I don’t see how that fits with your mission of being a magazine,” Heimbach said to Anthony Dent, co-editor of the magazine.

She made a motion to deny the request, but the motion failed.

Heimbach said she fears that since the conservative magazine shares some points of view with the College Republicans, other campus organizations would spin off publications in bids to get more money from Student Congress.

The Carolina Review is not affiliated with the College Republicans.

“I don’t think every magazine should bring a speaker,” she said.

Leah Josephson, a representative for district 6, declined to oppose the speaker fee, but said the committee should keep an eye on the issue.

Jared Simmons, chairman of the finance committee, said debate regarding Carolina Review’s speaker fee was legitimate, but said it was not up to the committee.

“It’s within everyone’s rights to bring speakers,” he said.

The Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club, which had only five members last year, now boasts 50 dues-paying members, said co-president Grant Anastas-King.

The group requested more than $6,000 for speakers and two 120-person trips to a local gun range — a point Josephson strongly opposed. She objected to the group’s request to buy ammunition for its trip.

“I don’t think we should fund ammo,” she said. “Ever.”

Other members of the committee pointed out that the Student Code allows Student Congress to fund ammunition for student groups, as long as they aren’t storing it. Josephson represented the lone dissent in the vote to send the group’s request to the full meeting of Student Congress.

The club also requested $2,500 to help pay for conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart’s $5,000 speaker fee, but the request was voted down after members pointed out that the group had already received $4,000 in speaker fees through the annual budget.

Anastas-King said he was glad the group received some funding from Student Congress, but said the group would have to reevaluate bringing Breitbart to the University.

The committee heard $56,000 in requests.

“This is the most finance requests I’ve ever heard,” Simmons said.

The requests Tuesday night came after the College Republicans were denied the full $20,000 in speaker fees for bringing Ann Coulter, another well-known conservative figure, to campus.

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