The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) has long been a cesspool of moral rot and corruption. My longtime readers will recall that the first speech I ever gave on a college campus was at UNCG in 2004. The university had just spent $3,000 the night before to fund a speech by a porn star that referred to herself as the “Queen of Anal Sex” (I promise I am not making this up). But they refused to fund my speech on the First Amendment because it was “too offensive.” To cap it off, UNCG told the College Republicans (CRs) that “political” groups were not eligible for funding. This classification violated a Supreme Court case decided back in 2000.
It is now 2017, and UNCG is still violating the Constitution in an effort to deter organizations from bringing in conservative speakers. In fact, it has gotten worse as their administrators are now violating their own classification policies in order to implement viewpoint discrimination. This time, they are doing it by unlawfully assessing a fee for the venue where Dinesh D'Souza will speak on November 2nd.
The controversy began when conservative UNCG students invited Dinesh D'Souza to speak on their campus through Young America's Foundation's (YAF) nationwide campus lecture program. Students requested funding for the lecture. When they later booked a venue for the lecture, UNCG administrators requested a copy of the speaker contract. As soon as they saw YAF on the contract, administrators disregarded their own rules and reclassified the event, requiring a venue fee not charged to students or recognized student groups that host events on campus.
According to public documents obtained through YAF's "Censorship Exposed" project, UNCG charged Hillary for America a $175 facility rental fee to reserve the UNCG Student Recreation Center. In contrast, students working to host Dinesh D'Souza are being charged $525 for their facility rental fee, plus $200 in facility staffing and another $450 in other operating expenses, to reserve the Elliott Center Auditorium.
The venues for Dinesh and Hillary are different, but that is irrelevant according to UNCG policy. The wording of the written policy dictates that events “that involve a University or University-affiliated group or unit and an unaffiliated cosponsoring group” are not charged a facility rental fee. The clear language of the policy states that only “external events…originating from an unaffiliated group” are required to pay a facility rental fee.
No reasonable person could argue that the Hillary for America campaign rally was not an external event warranting a facility rental fee. However, when an official on-campus student group approached UNCG administrators about hosting D’Souza for a lecture, the University violated its own policy by charging a fee. Moreover, the fee was three times higher than an event that was clearly nothing more than a campaign rally conducted by an off-campus group. To make matters worse, this 300% viewpoint penalty does not even take into account the staffing and miscellaneous fees levied against the CRs.
The decision of UNCG to give preference to an off-campus group over a conservative on-campus group is not new. At my aforementioned speaking engagement at UNCG back in 2004, I asked my conservative hosts if there were any other occasions when they had been denied funding because they were a “political” group. That was when I learned they were once denied funding for a series of events called “Morals Week.” In contrast, UNCG had long been hosting a gay pride week, which included a Gay Prom Night for gay high school students who did not want to attend a prom dominated by heterosexuals.
In other words, UNCG was charging conservative students a mandatory fee, refusing to give them back their money, and then doling it out to people who did not even attend the university. That was over thirteen years ago.
My purpose in writing this column about the present YAF controversy and linking it to the past UNCG controversies should be obvious. But just in case you missed it, I will summarize it in bold letters:
UNCG HAS BEEN STEALING MONEY FROM THEIR CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS AND LEVYING TAXES ON CONSERVATIVE SPEECH WITH IMPUNITY FOR YEARS.
If you are a concerned citizen upset with UNCG, you can reach Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. at (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are a UNCG donor, you can stop giving until they stop discriminating.
Author’s update: Since this was written on Friday morning, October 13th, UNCG has caved on the room fee. I will update readers if they cave on the other fees. Until then, please press on.