Conservative student group at University of North Carolina claims political bias robbed it of funding

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Published September 04, 2013

| FoxNews.com

Conservatives at the University of North Carolina say the Tar Heel student government plays favorites when it comes to doling out budgets to campus groups, and they rank somewhere below self-professed anarchists.

The College Republicans of the school's Chapel Hill campus say their request for $8,000 to fund guest speakers Townhall.com editor and Fox News Contributor Katie Pavlich and filmmaker Ann McElhinney got chopped to just $3,000 because the Student Congress doesn't share their politics. And the GOP students note that the governing body had no trouble finding $3,000 for self-professed anarchist group UNControllables, and even more for a hard-core feminist group.

“It's frustrating, but not entirely surprising.” Peter McClelland, chairman of the College Republicans of UNC Chapel Hill, told FoxNews.com. “We’ve seen a pattern since last year which has culminated in a 75 percent total cut in budget for conservative groups. It’s safe to say that there’s a fair amount of hostility.”

The group appealed the cut on Tuesday and was denied for a second time.

McClelland says that last year the campus rifle and pistol club had their budgets cut and that resolutions have been passed in recent years that have taken aim at conservative groups on campus.

In addition to providing generous funding for the group called UNControllables, the student government doled out $5,000 to feminist group Siren Womyn Empowerment Magazine.

Members of UNC's student government did not respond to requests for comment, but a spokesperson for the school issued the following statement to FoxNews.com:

"Since the fall of 2010, the UNC College Republicans have received funding for four of the five speakers they have chosen to bring to campus, including Robert Shibley, Herman Cain and Ann Coulter," read the statement. "Of the 17 student groups who requested funding from the Student Congress in recent weeks, only six received the full allotment they requested. The process for funding student groups is led and carried out entirely by students. University officials don't have a role in any of those decisions."

In a statement posted in the comment section of a Carolina Review Daily story, Student Finance committee member Conor Winter offered an explanation while defending the group’s decision.

“The reality of UNC Student Congress Finance Committee is that we don’t have enough money to fund everything, and we try to make our appropriations as widespread and helpful as we can. Part of this process is cutting large requests so that there will be money there in a few weeks when other groups’ requests are heard. The only group who requested more money last night was UNControllables, who requested about $15,000 and received only $4,000,” Winter said in the statement dated Aug. 28.

“As much as I appreciate the irony of an anarchist group and conservative group requesting more money than anyone else on a given night from Student Government, the reality is that that means that most likely those groups will be cut the most, not because of their political leanings or missions, but because by definition the largest requests have the most to lose in the funding process,” he added.

McClelland says they could file a new budget, but that the outcome would likely be the same.

"We are hesitant to do so," he said. "We feel that if we bring in the same speakers that we would like to, they will cut our budget again."

Pavlich said what happened at UNC-Chapel Hill is nothing new.

"I'm disappointed, but not surprised, by this decision,” Pavlich said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “The very same educational institutions that preach tolerance are the most intolerant of opposing views. This isn't simply a case isolated to UNC; it's happening all over the country and has been happening for decades."

“I'm happy to consider going to speak [at UNC] anyway, and I invite those who oppose my viewpoints to attend,” she added.

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