Campus Censorship Against Conservatives Defeated With Grassroots Campaign

by Jennifer Kabbany - Fix Editor on September 6, 2013

A crowdsourced Internet funding campaign launched Friday morning and spread via social media to raise $6,000 to bring conservative female investigative reporters Katie Pavlich and Ann McElhinney to speak at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill this fall was so successful it met its goal in about two hours.

As of 12:30 p.m. EST, the “Fight Censorship & Intolerance on Campus” Indiegogo campaign stood at $7,500 and counting, and College Republicans at the public North Carolina university said with those donations they can pay for Pavlich and McElhinney to come talk to students in October about Second Amendment rights and environmental extremists.

“We can confirm they are coming on the same night to stand in opposition to the student congress,” said senior Ben Smith, 21, executive vice chairman of the UNC Chapel Hill College Republicans, in an interview with The College Fix. “We are excited.”

The crowdsourced Internet funding campaign was organized by Pavlich, McElhinney, UNC College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation, a nonprofit conservative organization that, among many other things, facilitates speaking engagements.

The fundraiser was started in response to the UNC student government’s decision Tuesday night not to give the College Republicans enough money to bring in the two women to speak, calling Pavlich and McElhinney “non-academics” with unimpressive resumes who would not add value to the educational mission on campus. The fact that the women have lengthy and decorated resumes as investigative reporters was dismissed by the student congress, which only gave College Republicans $3,000 of the $8,000 needed to cover the women’s honorariums.

“Universities claim to be the most tolerant yet are the most intolerant of all. This is unacceptable. Fight back!” Pavlich had tweeted to her 71,151 followers Friday morning.

The campaign’s homepage stated: “No matter how the Congress dresses it up, this is blatant censorship of differing opinions. It’s undeniable intolerance. Shouldn’t students hear diverse opinions in college? Is it right to censor speech because you disagree with it? Is this what they’re teaching in universities?”

Promoted largely on Twitter, about 145 individuals donated to raise the money collected thus far.

“It doesn’t matter what your political stripe is this type of censorship it becoming more and more common in universities all over the continent and must be vigorously resisted,” commented one contributor, Ian from Vancouver, Canada.

Said another: “Good for you, Katie, for standing up and doing something. I saw FrackNation and heard Ann … in NYC.  Everyone should be discussing this important film.”

McElhinney co-produced FrankNation, a feature documentary that dispels myths about fracking for natural gas. Pavlich is news editor for the popular conservative website Townhall.com, as well as the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up.”

The same night the UNC student government essentially voted against bringing Pavlich on campus, they also passed a resolution condemning a state law that allows concealed weapons on campuses. During the last school year, the student congress supported a divestment stance against coal profits.

Smith said an exact date on when the conservative female investigative reporters will speak on campus has yet to be determined, but when they do come they are expected to bring balance to some of the anti-Second Amendment rights and environmental extremism stances taken by the UNC student government.

Smith said the $6,000 raised will cover the shortfall to bring in the speakers, and additional money raised after that could fund more conservative speakers on campus.

Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.

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