I know what you’re asking yourself, “College Republicans is having an election? Why is The Rival writing about it? Does anyone really care?”
Well, lucky for you I have all the answers.
Let’s start with the basics. Today (4/16) AUCRs is holding elections for the coming school year. Any person who attended three or more AUCRs meetings or events is eligible to vote. Everyone who falls into this category is highly encouraged to go and let your voice be heard.
Now for the more pressing question on your mind: why should you care? Republicans are outnumbered on campus, by a lot. They are a quiet voice at American and their events are far and few between. Not to mention, many of the Republicans on campus aren’t even a part of AUCRs. Because I personally couldn’t answer this question, I sat down with the presidential nominees to hear their take on this issue, their platforms, and what they could do for not only AUCRs, but also the campus community.
Candidates include Andy Schwarz, Dan Savickas, and Tom Hebert (links on links on links) who are all devout conservatives who are in it to shake things up. While I’m not here to give you a break down of their platforms or tell you who is best suited for the job, I can tell you what they told me that convinced me that this election should matter to the AU student body.
While I heard a range of responses answering questions regarding why they would be best as president and what exactly their platforms entail, it was the answers to the question “why should we care?” that struck me the most. Each candidate had a unique answer but all had the same tone- they wanted to build a stronger community at AU and diversify the conversations that were happening on campus.
While this seems like an empty sound bite, upon further discussion, it was quickly evident that it was so much more. Andy discussed his hope “to change campus climate and relations.” He acknowledged that Republicans on this campus often turn themselves into victims, which is something he intends to change in order to improve relationships between students of different political beliefs; however, he also acknowledged the common lack of respect that Republicans receive on campus.
Dan elaborated on this point when he pledged to “increase respect and thought” among students. He also emphasized that when he and other AUCRs have conversations, they aren’t trying to convert people, but rather increase intellectual debate. Tom managed to synthesize these ideas with a simple “I want to challenge the status quo.” A poignant statement by which he meant that by bringing different groups and individuals together, he genuinely hopes to increase a diversity of ideas through mutually respectful conversation on this campus.
So here’s what I heard when I listened: Republicans are a small part of this campus that are often ignored or ridiculed based on what they believe and these young men hope to change that which would benefit both Republicans and the rest of campus. And I agree.
Before anyone jumps down my throat, or theirs, hear me out. All three candidates made it explicitly clear that they do not think that they are marginalized. However, each candidate had a personal anecdote about someone on campus being outright rude to him because of his political affiliation.
To be honest, it’s embarrassing for a campus that prides itself on being inclusive of all people to be exclusive of a group because you don’t have the same beliefs.
In fact, I’d call it hypocritical.
You can disagree with a person all day long, but it’s imperative that you still treat them with respect. Furthermore, by having intellectual conversations (yes conversations, not debates, not screaming matches, and certainly not Facebook fights) with people who hold different viewpoints than your own, you’re doing yourself a favor. You become better at defending your thoughts, a skill that is important through out college and life. You’re also challenging yourself to think more critically about why you believe what you do which helps to better understand who you are as a person.
While I think that there is blame to share, it seems that AUCRs, and especially the young men running to be president, are serious about making a change that would benefit every student. So maybe the real question is, are you?