A proposed bill that would make it more difficult to request funding for ammunition from Student Congress has triggered calls of discrimination by the Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club.
More than 40 protesters vocally opposed the bill Tuesday during Student Congress committee meetings. If passed, the bill would increase the number of votes required to approve funding for ammunition from one-half to three-fifths of Student Congress.
The bill was initially reported unfavorably by the finance committee, a result that normally would have killed the bill. But it was then passed favorably through the rules and judiciary committee, meaning full Student Congress will debate and vote on it next week, said Brittany Best, chairwoman of the finance committee.
Because the Tar Heel Rifle and Pistol Club is the only organization on campus that makes ammunition requests, club members said they viewed the bill as a direct attack on their organization.
“There are precedents built into the Student Code, so this would be a higher standard than for other student group funding,” club president Grant Anastas-King said.
Best said the bill’s passage could set a precedent of Student Congress members targeting funding for organizations, the missions of which they do not support.
“Some of the people who supported this bill have expressed that they don’t like the organization and don’t want to fund it,” Best said.
“To be frank, I think (the bill) was a roundabout way to discriminate against this group.”
But Austin Root, who authored the bill, dismissed these claims.
“The people who support the bill view this from a Student Code perspective,” he said.
He added that under Student Congress’ financial regulations, no student groups are allotted funding for the purpose of personal, tangible gain — a category that he said ammunition might fall under — unless approved by a two-thirds vote.
Root said the proposed three-fifths threshold was a compromise, given the unclear nature of ammunition in terms of personal benefit.
Another aspect of the bill would require all ammunition to be stored by the Department of Public Safety.
Root said the storage of the ammunition on campus is a serious liability for the University.
Before sending the bill to the rules and judiciary committee, Root amended it to exclude a requirement that ammunition funding requests go through the student safety and security committee.
In the week leading up to Student Congress’ vote, Root said he is contacting representatives to amass broad support for the bill.
Anastas-King said he is asking his club members to email representatives.
Best said she will yield her allotted time at the Student Congress meeting to debating the bill and will invite constituents to give their opinion.
Anastas-King said ammunition funding is vital to his organization.
“We feel this is specific discrimination and is not what Carolina should stand for,” he said.
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