October 22, 2020

Political organizations shifting on campus

On Capital’s campus there are three political organizations: the College Democrats, the College Republicans and the Socialist Student Union (SSU). 

This semester, the College Republicans are currently undergoing a rebranding of sorts. 

President Lynna Freeman of Capital’s chapter of College Republicans spoke on behalf of the organization. Ms. Freeman noted that the word “Republican” has taken on some negative connotations in recent years. 

The chapter cannot change its name without disassociating with the Ohio College Republican Federation, which they do not want to do. However, as a part of their rebranding, College Republicans are trying to be unofficially recognized more so as College Conservatives. 

Freeman noted the diversity of opinions on their executive board alone. Lynna herself identifies as a Libertarian and she mentions that other members of the executive board are Constitutionalists along with other factions of the conservative side of American politics. 

Freeman also advocates for even more diversity in College Republicans. She says that College Republicans welcome people of all backgrounds and beliefs to participate in meetings, discussion and debate as well as even becoming members of the organization. 

College Republicans have open meetings where they discuss current events, encourage members to “discuss and debate in class…when appropriate”, and encourage members to campaign for Republican candidates. 

Through the Ohio College Republicans Federation, our chapter of College Republicans is able to connect with state and local candidates, build connections and receive internships. On a national level, College Republicans encourage members to get involved in the Presidential election. 

Most members of College Republicans do support the reelection of President Trump in 2020. However, Freeman did note that in their meetings they do praise the President when he does something good, but they also discuss when he does things that are wrong. 

Freeman says no matter where someone is on the political spectrum she encourages them to reach out to her, or College Republicans advisor Chris Hatchett. Another way to reach out to College Republicans or to keep updated on their events is to follow them on social media. Their Twitter handle is @CapRepublicans

The other major party political organization on campus is the College Democrats. College Democrats are highly involved on campus. Last semester they held multiple watch parties for debates. 

This semester they are currently looking into ways to fundraise for the 2020 election. According to their President, Ethan Roberts, a lot of members of College Democrats are also members of the Capital University Student Government (CUSG). 

This is one way their members have been able to make change. At CUSG’s most recent meeting, Roberts, who is a Senator, along with other Senators who are part of College Democrats, introduced and passed a bill that encourages Capital to make all classes online and asynchronous for Election Day in November. 

Ethan hopes that this will help raise voter turnout at Capital and allow students to be poll workers. College Democrats also have coordinated campaign efforts such as doing phone banks as an organization. 

College Democrats is currently working on connecting with organizations within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. College Democrats will be holding an event with PRIDE and plan to team up with both the Asian-American-Alliance and the Sister Network during the Vice Presidential debate in order to celebrate the diversity of Kamala Harris being on the ballot this November. 

College Democrats has struggled in the past, being all but nonexistent prior to the 2016 election. President Roberts credits a lot of the building of the org to the former President of the chapter, Hunter Patterson. 

Roberts said that while they aren’t necessarily “rebranding” like the College Republicans, College Democrats “have grown quite significantly” in the past few semesters. 

Roberts hopes to have strong connections with other organizations who are the base of the Democratic Party, get students involved in the democratic process, and help facilitate change both on campus and beyond. 

Roberts is excited to see how the organization runs after the election; whether or not Joe Biden is elected. “People get excited for 6 months,” Roberts said. “Then you gotta figure out what you’re gonna do,” and he is very excited to keep Democrats engaged even after November. 

College Democrats’ mission statement is to “work to elect Democratic candidates and promote progressive ideals in Columbus, throughout Ohio and across the country.” Roberts says that if that sounds like you, get involved. Even if that isn’t you, you can get involved. College Democrats welcome diversity in their organization. To get involved, sign up with College Dems via “Engage” and you will be automatically let into the group. You can also reach out via social media. Their twitter is @CU_CollegeDems.

The Socialist Student Union is a newer organization on campus and is run by President Jacob DiGeronimo. 

Jacob says the SSU is a place of diverse opinions as well; however, it does differ with College Dems. 

Most members of SSU “hold views that are further left than Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The organization “represents students that are at their core some form of Marxist or anti-capitalist.” 

As an organization, their goal is to be a place for leftist to call home if they do not believe that the Democratic Party really represents their values. 

The organization is very young but has already been active on campus. Just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SSU welcomed former candidate for the U.S. Congress, Morgan Harper, to come speak on campus. 

Harper was an anti-establishment Democrat. Interestingly enough she came up in talks with College Democrats as well. 

Roberts mentioned that Capital’s College Democrats can make endorsements but only if they endorse candidates already endorsed by Franklin County’s Democratic Party. In that case, Capital’s College Democrats would have only been able to endorse Harper’s opponent, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH3). 

The SSU, however, is an independent organization. This has some downsides as they do not have the resources like College Republicans and Democrats due to them not being tied to state or national organizations. However, because they are independent, they can make this organization whatever they want it to be. 

They can endorse who they want, fundraise for who they want, and advocate for what they believe. 

DiGermanio encourages students to get involved in SSU. Whether they are far leftist, moderate liberals, or even conservative, SSU welcomes them into their circle. Their meetings are open-ended and people can just show up and come check it out! Their twitter handle is @CapitalSSU.

While the three organizations definitely have their differences, they have been able to work together in the past. 

All three have sent representatives to the Women’s Empowerment event here on campus. In this way, all three have been able to participate in a civil discussion of political change. In the past there was a “debate to vote” in which political groups on campus were able to discuss political issues leading up to an election. 

Lynna Freeman said she would love to do this again and “show unity within political differences.” 

No matter your political creed or beliefs, there are three organizations on campus for you to get involved in. They all are accepting of diverse beliefs and backgrounds. 

  • J.J. is a Junior Political Science major and a Political Correspondent for The Chimes. J.J. served in the Capital University Student Government and has helped on different political campaigns. You can email him at jprice3@capital.edu.

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