The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 2nd

Stossel, Dean to debate

As student political groups seek to boost turnout and membership before this fall’s elections, the UNC College Republicans wield a significant cash advantage.

For today’s debate between Fox Business Network host John Stossel and former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean, the group is aided by the Young America’s Foundation.

The foundation, which is partially funding the debate, is a right-leaning group dedicated to promoting conservatism on college campuses. It began working with UNC College Republicans in 1996.

The groups have collaborated before to bring prominent speakers to campus, such as former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain earlier this year and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove in 2010.

“The Young America’s Foundation has been a fantastic partner for the College Republicans over the years, and they continue to be,” said Garrett Jacobs, chairman of the University’s College Republicans. “(They’ve) been a huge asset for helping us get speakers, and also an additional source of funding.”

According to its website, the Young America’s Foundation, which was started in 1969, was founded at Vanderbilt University to provide students with conservative ideas lacking from their education.

Since then, the foundation has worked largely to help bring conservative leaders to speak on campuses.

Other events organized by the foundation include former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes’ talk at Yale University today and an event with conservative columnist Star Parker at UNC Monday, in conjunction with the Carolina Liberty Foundation.

Patrick Coyle, vice president of YAF, said the University benefits from more speaking events since students are exposed to new ideas.

Today’s debate costs more than $40,000 and is partially funded by $12,500 from the UNC College Republicans, which came from speaker fees allocated by Student Congress. The foundation is covering the remaining cost of the event.

The UNC Young Democrats had also initially planned to cosponsor the event. But Austin Gilmore, president of the group, said it was unable to provide the necessary $10,000.

Gilmore said the Young Democrats rely primarily on funding from Student Congress, adding that the group doesn’t have as large of an alumni funding base as its Republican counterpart.

“The Young Democrats doesn’t have the same kind of PAC-funded support that assists the College Republicans in linking up and soliciting donations from rich alumni,” he said.

As the presidential campaign comes down to the wire in North Carolina, Gilmore said he hopes that more representatives from the Obama campaign will come to campus — but he added that the speakers would need to be funded by the campaign.

Contact the desk editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

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