The University of Michigan is defending their promotion of a feminist forum that state Republicans believe was an out-right partisan event that violated the university’s tax exempt status.
“The Republican War on Women” forum was held earlier this week and was moderated by a university employee who made political contributions to the Democratic National committee and the Obama campaign.
The event infuriated Rachel Jankowski, the president of the University of Michigan’s College Republicans.
“For a university that totes diversity and acceptance, it shows those feel good words only apply to people who espouse its shared liberal viewpoints,” she wrote. “Such hostile events have no place at a public university. Any use of taxpayer dollars to sponsor this event could be seen as participating in campaigns, which would be a violation of federal law.”
Jankowski said the university broke the law by promoting such a partisan event. she noted that all the panelists were liberals and one wrote an article declaring she was “ashamed” by any woman who would vote for Mitt Romney.
“As a woman, I’m also extremely offended by such events,” she wrote. “The Left claims that the GOP is undermining women, when really, it is the Left and events like this that pin women against women, gender against gender. “
Bigelow noted that after concerns were raised about the title of the forum, it was changed to include a question mark.
“The change in the title doesn’t change the fact that it is an anti-Republican event based on the people involved,” Bigelow wrote. “For it to be a 501(c)3-acceptable event, it must have both sides represented equally.”
But Kelly Cunningham, the director of the university’s office of public affairs, disputed that assertion.
“The event description was not ideally worded and did not capture accurately the content of the program; however, the event itself does comply with the Michigan Campaign Finance Act and with IRS regulations,” she told Fox News.
“To be clear, a ‘Republican war on women’ is not being assumed, nor was the purpose of the forum an examination of whether there is a ‘Republican war on women,’” she added.
Cunningham stressed that the feminist forum was not partisan “nor was there any suggestion of how anyone should vote in the upcoming elections.”
But the participants seemed to be partisan. The website Michigan Capitol Confidential reported that Professor Susan Douglas, the moderator, wrote an article about the election titled, “It’s the Stupid Republicans, Stupid.” They also reported that she gave to both the Obama campaign and the DNC.
“It’s a campaign event and should not be done at a taxpayer-funded college,” Tina Dupont, a member of the Tea Party of West Michigan told the website. “That’s certainly a misuse of our dollars. Without having both sides represented, to me it comes across as a campaign event. I don’t appreciate my money being used like that. I don’t think there is a war on women in the Republican Party.”