Emotions ran high among members of Associated Student’s Legislative Council last night when the majority voted to award College Republicans nearly $3,000 on top of the $10,000 the conservative campus group received from A.S. Finance Board on Monday.
The meeting, originally containing five action items, took an unexpected turn when Ryan McNicholas, fundraising chair of the College Republicans, requested $5,000 of funding from the Council to further support efforts to bring Karl Rove to UCSB as a speaker this winter. A main concern, voiced by University-owned Housing Rep. Sammy Maramba-Ferrell, was that such a significant expenditure would be supporting right-wing campus organizations while neglecting organizations representing traditionally underrepresented political minorities. Also, she said, this would be the second time in a week that A.S. organizations allocated sizeable chunks of their Fall and Winter Quarter budgets to College Republicans.
“You choose to be a Republican — you don’t choose to be a woman or gay,” Maramba-Ferrell said. “So that’s something to consider.”
But the money, McNicholas said, would be a crucial part of the $25,000 total required to pay for Rove’s planned appearance at Campbell Hall in January. As one of the most influential political analysts of our time, McNicholas said, Rove’s appearance would be a great boon to political thought at the university.
“We’re $10,000 dollars short, and the community has said that they’d match anything that A.S. would give us,” McNicholas said. “Karl Rove, as much as you hate him or love him, is going to bring good discussion to this campus.”
Off-campus Representative Jamie Silverstein said he couldn’t reject the proposal, despite personal problems with Rove’s politics.
“I hate Karl Rove, but I am for this,” Silverstein said.
“You can’t be for diversity at UCSB and be against have Karl Rove here to speak. If you’re against this because you’re against Karl Rove, then you’re not promoting diversity.”
However, Maramba-Ferrell said, Rove’s views may not be too widely accepted. As the senior advisor and deputy chief-of-staff under President George W. Bush, Rove did gain some notoriety.
“I’m a proponent of balanced sides, but I’m just a little wary of him coming here and saying something racist or homophobic,” Maramba-Ferrell said. “Then we as a campus would be associated with that comment since we brought him here.”
While the College Republicans request was prominent, an array of other bills was also addressed. A resolution to support public safety in Isla Vista and a bill to restructure the duties of the A.S. Executive Board were both passed with consent, although as of press time, most debate was over McNicholas’ request.