Following the recommendation of the finance committee, Student Congress appropriated $3,090 to UNC College Republicans Tuesday night despite pleas from the group leaders.
About 15 members of the group attended the meeting Tuesday to protest what they say is a pattern of discrimination against conservative voices.
“What I want to stress is that it’s a trend,” said Peter McClelland, president of College Republicans and a representative of Student Congress.
Last Tuesday, the finance committee recommended cutting the group’s fall budget request from $8,180 to $3,090, giving it money to bring one speaker to campus instead of two.
McClelland said the committee’s bias was proven when they gave more money to UNControllables — an anarchist group — and Siren Womyn Empowerment Magazine, which he called liberal.
Brittany Best, chairwoman of the finance committee, said the total amount of money Student Congress had for fall appropriations was $134,000. She said there is $90,717 left to distribute.
McClelland said it was rare for conservative ideas like their speakers hold to be heard around campus.
He said Student Congress had an obligation to promote a diversity of ideologies because of its charge to promote a free exchange of ideas.
“I’m the only one so far who has cited the code,” McClelland said.
But members of Congress said budget realities do not allow them to distribute the money equally.
Representative Harrison Touby said Congress was dealing with cuts across the board, and the quality of the speakers was not worth the price tag.
Representative Conor Winters said the outrage this budget caused was unwarranted. He said cuts to requests are the norm and if every group reacted this way there would be similar debates every week.
Nate Pencook, chairman of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans, attended the meeting and asked leaders to challenge themselves and the liberal reputation he said UNC is known for.
“I really came to encourage you on two magic words: intellectual diversity,” he said.
He said the political gridlock nowadays is due to the lack of free exchange of ideas.
But Winters said he did not follow the College Republicans’ logic.
“I have trouble believing that because there’s this aura of liberalism on campus, we owe conservative groups,” he said.
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