Liberal Bias Against Campus Conservatives
Continues: Discrimination At UNC
BY JOHN T. PLECNIK[email protected] www.johnplecnik.com
Monday, August 30, 2004
North Carolina colleges and universities have finally upstaged their liberal sisters in the Northeast-the intolerant anti-conservative culture in the University of North Carolina system has nearly reached critical mass. Year after year, incident after incident, UNC administrators have perpetuated the cycle of discrimination against campus conservatives. Michael McKnight, founder of Committee for a Better Carolina at UNC-Chapel Hill, became famous for protesting the assignment of "Nickel and Dimed." The book was the work of a self-avowed socialist and Chapel Hill students were given no conservative alternative. Millions of Carolinians were horrified by the revelation that their children were being spoon-fed Leftist curriculum. Years later, McKnight has graduated and the bias continues.
For those who doubt the degree of malice against conservative students, the story of a beleaguered Christian at UNC-Chapel Hill provides some disturbing evidence. Engaged in classroom discussion, the student merely responded to his professor's lecture. The topic-why heterosexual men are intimidated by gays? The Christian interjected that he was not intimidated and believed that homosexuality is immoral. His professor rebuked him in a class-wide e-mail, labeling the young UNC-goer as a sexist bigot. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) heard about the incident over the radio and came to the hapless student's defense. However, even congressional lobbying only went so far. The offending professor retained her post with minimal consequences.
Now, UNC-Chapel Hill refuses to recognize a Christian student organization for limiting its membership to Christian students. The university alleges that such limited membership discriminates against non-Christians. If the new policy stands, Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity will be denied all university funding.
This latest attempt to disband or dilute a conservative student organization is highly reminiscent of the recent controversy at UNC-Wilmington. The beachfront institution retracted official recognition from their resident College Republican chapter. Administrators argued that CRs could not limit their membership to Republicans without discriminating against members of other political parties. Not surprisingly, significant numbers of alumni were displeased by their school's ridiculous justification. UNC-Wilmington was eventually embarrassed into reversing its own decision.
This time, however, Tar Heel administrators show no signs of backing down. UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser claims that relinquishing his university's stance would break the law. He claims that granting funding to Christian-only groups would sanction discrimination.
The Christian fraternity also refuses to back down. Alpha Iota Omega will resort to the courts. Filing a federal lawsuit against their own university, fraternity members are seeking an injunction against the anti-Christian policy. They seek to have the policy declared an unconstitutional abrogation of their freedom of association. Once again, Rep. Walter Jones has intervened on behalf of the students, drawing national attention to the dispute.
Regardless of whether the fraternity is vindicated in court, an overwhelming institutional bias against campus conservatives has been revealed. Many Republicans were stunned when former congressional candidate "Whit" Whitfield made stopping liberal bias on campus the centerpiece of his campaign. Whitfield hosted the first "College Abuse Conference for Free Speech." However, the issue electrified students and new instances of liberal bias continue to spark controversy.
Conservative candidates and organizations are beginning to sense a winning issue. The John Locke Foundation will be coordinating a similar academic conference this fall. Rachel Lea Hunter, conservative candidate for North Carolina Supreme Court, has already expressed a commitment to enforcing the U.S. Constitution on college campuses. Hunter's Republican competitors would be wise to emulate her college abuse platform. Likewise, more members of congress should imitate Rep. Walter Jones' dedication to conservative students. Though the abuses in North Carolina may be particularly flagrant, the need for reform is nationwide. Across the country, conservative students are watching to see who truly wants their support this November.