For the second semester in a row, MCLA College Republicans chapter flyers, which advertised the date and time of the club’s first meeting, have reportedly been “torn down” around campus, according to a statement released by College Republican Chair Kaitlin Wright.
The first place Wright said she noticed a flyer had been removed was the first floor of the Amsler Campus Center, on a bulletin board located by the athletic trainer’s office.
“I handed both the Political Science Club flyers and the College Republican flyers in at the same time, so they were both stamped and put out by that day,” Wright said. “So I’m assuming places where there are Political Science Club [flyers] and not College Republican [flyers] are areas that they’ve been taken down.”
The second confirmed incident occurred in the Flagg Townhouses’ Greenhouse.
“I was doing laundry and I saw it [a College Republicans flyer] there and I was like, ‘oh wow, it’s still there,’ and when I had come back maybe 40 minutes later, it had already been torn down and thrown in the trash,” Wright said.
Wright, who posted the flyer image on social media hours before their first meeting on Sept. 18, reported that some students had been posting screenshots of her post, along with comments such as, “‘is this really the school that I go to,’ and, ‘I’m going to transfer.’”
During the club’s first meeting, a couple students suggested that the reason why the posters had been removed was because of its inclusion of a cartoon image of President Donald Trump. According to one, this may have caused students to associate the club with President Trump, who Wright reported the club is not affiliated with.
However, Wright noted, last semester the College Republicans still found their posters missing around campus, despite a completely different design.
“It was a completely different poster last year, it had multiple presidents on it with party hats saying ‘come to our meeting; it’s the best party on campus’ and people still tore it down,” Wright said. “I think the Trump thing probably agitated people a little bit more, and maybe I should’ve had a little bit more discretion on that, but at the same time, I don’t think that I shouldn’t be able to put the President of the United States on a flyer.”
Before flyers are hung, they must go through an approval process via Student Government Association (SGA) and Student Development in order to be allowed on campus.
According to Director of Student Development Celia Norcross, Wright had informed the Student Development office that the College Republican flyers had been removed from their respective places on campus. Norcross had then asked student workers to inventory to see which boards the flyers were missing from; it had then been confirmed that the flyers were missing from several.
“We always try to find out who takes these off the board and talk with them about why they would do that. We also like to give them the chance to explain their situation and explain the time and effort that these students have put into putting these flyers up,” Norcross said. “Especially with last year’s climate, we certainly don’t think that the College Republicans deserve to have their flyers to be taken down. They were approved by SGA, and they have full rights to a club meeting.”
Junior Paul Stewart, a general member of College Republicans, commented that the incident highlights a greater “double standard” of campus politics.
“Imagine if it was reversed, and it was a picture of Obama, and some conservative didn’t like him so he tore it down. Everyone on the left would be mad about that, and rightfully so,” Stewart said.
Wright reported that she encourages students from all political backgrounds to attend the meetings and have open dialogues.
“I want other people to come and share their views, too, and as long as we can sit down and share our opinions in a healthy, acceptable manner, that was the purpose of creating this club and that’s what I really want to do,” she said. “If you have a concern, come to the meeting. If you’re not comfortable coming to a meeting, and you would rather meet with the E-Board one-on-one, I’d be more than happy to do that. They can always email me on Office 365, reach out to me on Facebook or stop me in the hallway.”
The College Republican National Committee (CRNC) is a national organization that allows conservative students to become involved in politics. The MCLA College Republicans are a chapter of the CRNC. This semester, the College Republicans will be meeting on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. in Bowman room 217.