Thanks to the courage of conservative students and the concern of free speech loving citizens, administrators from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro were made to change their classification of next month’s campus lecture with Dinesh D’Souza.

As of 5pm ET today, the powers that be at UNCG corrected the error they previously stood by and at last followed their own policy that requires an event hosted and organized by one of their students be treated as such.

It is outrageous that conservative students needed to alert the media and drum up significant support from the community in order to have their school follow its own rules.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro owes these conservative students an apology for their treatment.

Young America’s Foundation is grateful for the outpouring of support, and would like to thank those who voiced their concern with UNCG’s treatment of conservative students including:

  • Lt. Governor Dan Forest
  • Dinesh D’Souza
  • Interested members of the UNC Board of Governors and the UNCG Board of Trustees
  • UNCG Alumni
  • Freedom-loving Americans

YAF will continue to support conservative students at UNCG and monitor ongoing developments to ensure that plans for the event proceed.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is ignoring its own event classification policy–and the hard work of conservative students who have taken great initiative to bring the ideological diversity their school fails to provide–in assessing a fee for the venue where D’Souza will speak November 2.

Earlier this fall, conservative students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro invited Dinesh D’Souza to speak on their campus through Young America’s Foundation’s nationwide campus lecture program as part of YAF’s “D’Souza Unchained” lecture tour. Students requested and subsequently booked a venue for the lecture, at which point administrators requested a copy of the speaker contract. Upon seeing Young America’s Foundation listed on the speaker contract, the school threw its own rulebook out the window and reclassified the event, triggering a venue fee not charged to students or recognized student groups that host events.

This move is nothing new to Young America’s Foundation–we see leftist administrators routinely attempt to selectively apply or manipulate rules to prevent conservative students from bringing in speakers or severely limit attendance when a conservative is allowed to speak.

According to public documents obtained through YAF’s “Censorship Exposed” project, UNC-Greensboro charged Hillary for America a $175 facility rental fee to reserve the UNCG Student Recreation Center. 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 UNCG Elliott University Center Auditorium.

The venues for D’Souza and Hillary are different, but according to the University’s own policy, events “that involve a University or University-affiliated group or unit and an unaffiliated cosponsoring group” are not charged a facility rental fee. Only “external events…originating from an unaffiliated group” are required to pay a facility rental fee.

No one disputes that the Hillary for America campaign rally was an external event warranting a facility rental fee (although the University bizarrely claims that the event wasn’t a “campaign” rally). However, when a recognized student group approached UNCG administrators about hosting Dinesh D’Souza for a campus lecture, the University violated its own policy, treated the student group as though they were not part of the UNCG community (indistinguishable from Hillary for America), and charged these students $525 to reserve an on-campus facility.

The University even offered these students the same Facility Usage Agreement that it used for the Hillary for America rally. The agreement offered to the students still listed Hillary for America as a “fellow licensee.” We guessed that Hillary would rather not co-sponsor an event with Young America’s Foundation so we notified the school which has assured us they’ll send an updated contract.

“The school’s gross ignorance of their conservative students’ work to bring Dinesh D’Souza is tragic, but unfortunately unsurprising. In their attempt to turn free speech into a pay-to-play scheme on their campus, UNCG is acting as though their own students are invisible, ignoring the legwork necessary to host a successful campus lecture, and sending the message that students holding conservative beliefs are not welcome at UNCG,” said YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown.

Young America’s Foundation calls on UNCG administrators to follow its own rulebook in classifying events and recognize the work of its students to bring a diverse voice to campus. We applaud the conservative students working hard, in spite of university ignorance, to challenge the status quo at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Concerned citizens upset with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s treatment of conservative students can reach Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. via phone (336-334-5266) and email (chancellor@uncg.edu).

For further information or to cover this story contact Spencer Brown via email (sbrown@yaf.org) or phone (800-872-1776).