Phi Beta Cons

The State-Funded Political Soapbox Derby

It’s good that academia isn’t overtly politicized (at least that’s what the faculty and administrators always say). Otherwise, there would be incidents like the two that happened last week at University of North Carolina. At UNC–Chapel Hill, the Campus Y, a department under the Division of Student Affairs, and therefore a state agency, openly endorsed a position on its official school website attacking a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. As the student blogger for the school’s conservative publication, the Carolina Review, wrote, the Y is “using the ‘authority and prestige’ of a position to affect the outcome of partisan elections,” a clear violation of NC General Statute 126-13.

The other event involved the provost of UNC-Greensboro, who forwarded an e-mail using his provost’s address that also encouraged defeat of the amendment, also a clear offense. (The TV video mentions two other such incidents about different liberal causes at Winston-Salem State University back in 2010.)

You have to wonder how many such incidents go unnoticed, with e-mails and websites that cross the legal line of political activity. That is, if the universities were politicized.

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