In January 2013 the News & Observer reported North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s planned to propose to legislation to overhaul the much higher education is funded in North Carolina, putting the emphasis on job creation not liberal arts and taking specific aim at the state’s flagship university. McCrory said, “I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs.” McCrory is saying that Women’s Studies is not a ‘real’ major because he claims that there is no way to get a job with a degree in that major. As a result, there will be budget cuts towards education to stimulate the North Carolina economy.
Furthermore, McCrory’s stand on the issue has promoted other politicians to push for unfavorable bills. Recently, The Daily Tar Heel reported that one of these bills that the senate introduced on Tuesday, will overturn UNC’s Board of Trustees Policy that allows opposite sex housing. The bill would prohibit students of different sexes from living together in on-campus suites and apartments, unless they are married or siblings.
As a result, the bill promotes cuts towards UNC’s gender-neutral housing initiative; bringing the program to a screeching halt before it even had a chance to begin. The program was set to begin in the Fall of 2013. Senator Chad Barefoot said the program will cost the University money in which could be invested in the school’s academics. Barefoot said, “North Carolina has great universities because we remain committed to pursuing cutting-edge research, upholding high academic standards and achieving excellence in the classroom.”
However, that is not the only unfavorable bill that the North Carolina Senate is trying to pass. There are two more bills that the senate is trying to pass, the Equalize Voter Rights bill and the Rowan County Defense of Religion Act of 2013. The Equalize Voter Rights Bill would force voting students to travel home or vote absentee; if not their parents face higher taxes. The rowan County Defense of Religion Act of 2013 argues that the state does not have to recognize federal court decisions that regulate the establishment of religion.
Moreover, these three bills that the North Carolina Senate is attempting to pass is alienating young voters. This is not something that will work in favor of the North Carolina politicians pushing these bills. If you can recall in 2008 the voters who ultimately helped President Barack Obama win the election was the young voters. The Equalize Voter Rights Bill may make voting more difficult for college students and may drive them not to vote at all.
As a result, the politicians pushing these bills to be passed might not get reelected for another term. Why? The reason why they might not get reelected is because these bills are restricting young voters. In a swing state like North Carolina, restricting young voters is not the smartest political strategy. Young voters could be the determining factor of whether or not a politician gets elected for a government position. President Barack Obama’s election in 2008 and reelection in 2012 is proof of that. An article in The Washington Post confirms the effect of the youth vote during both elections. About 66% of 18-to-29-year-olds supporting President Obama, helping to sweep him to victory in 2008.
In conclusion, the budget cuts that going towards public universities have promoted the North Carolina legislature to attempt to pass unfavorable bills. Governor Pat McCrory’s stand on the issue has promoted unfavorable bills towards youth voters. The bill to overturn UNC’s Board of Trustees Policy towards opposite sex housing, the Equalize Voter Rights Bill and the Rowan County Defense of Religion Act of 2013, have all become unfavorable bills among youth voters. The three bills are alienating young voters.
As a result, the politicians pushing for any of the three bills to be passed might not get reelected for another term. In Jeffrey C. Alexander’s The Performance of Politics, the idea that a politician’s image plays a big role on whether or not he or she is elected helps me to further understand the potential aftermath of these three bills. The youth vote tends to be a determining factor in a swing state during elections. Each of the bills have the possibility to harm the image of these politicians among the young voters, especially the bill to overturn UNC’s Board of Trustees Policy and the Equalize Voter Right Bill. As a result, these politicians could be losing votes for future elections because everything that they are doing now is being taken into consideration among the average voter.