College Republicans revived at UNI

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College Republicans revived at UNI

COURTESY PHOTO/UNI College Republicans

COURTESY PHOTO/UNI College Republicans

COURTESY PHOTO/UNI College Republicans

ANNA FLANDERS, Staff Writer

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While most people would love nothing more than to escape political discussions in our current climate, one group of UNI students wants to do just the opposite. After the group fizzled out last semester, the College Republicans are now being revived on UNI’s campus.

“The person running it graduated [last semester], and I was like, ‘Okay, I gotta do something,’” said Nicholas Schindler, a sophomore finance major who is the organization’s president. “There needs to be a voice for the other side on this campus.”

Schindler has been interested in politics since the 2012 presidential race, when he was disappointed in Mitt Romney’s loss to the then-President Obama. Schindler’s interest continued to grow through reading books by Mark Levin and listening to his radio show.

“I’ve always envisioned being able to run a club like this,” he said. “So, then I talked to the person who was sort of in charge and I asked if I could take it over and he told me ‘yes.’”

The revival of College Republicans began on Feb. 14. On March 5, they held their first meeting where Schindler said about 25 people were in attendance.

Their next meeting will be on Tuesday April 2, at 7 p.m. in the Elm Room of Maucker Union. The Buchanan County Women’s Conservative Group and a representative from Americans for Prosperity will also be attending the meeting, according to Schindler.

Schindler says they plan to discuss the results of the Iowa Senate District 30 special election. The group has been actively campaigning with the Republican candidate Walt Rogers.

When he decided to revive College Republicans, Schindler recruited some of his friends to the group, including Jacob Sly, a sophomore and fellow finance major.

“I’ve had a teacher every semester at least that’s hated on conservative ideas or hated on Trump,” Sly said. “I had a teacher tell me last year that she can’t even stand to hear the name Trump, which I just find that funny because I’m sure she hears his name a lot.”

Sly said that he feels “a lot of bias” on campus against those with conservative political leanings.

“Obviously, this is a government-funded organization and a lot of college students — they hear ‘free college,’ ‘free healthcare,’ this and that,” he said. “To somebody that doesn’t really know what they’re talking about, that sounds great. But once you find out what you’re talking about — I mean those aren’t really tangible things, nor do they really make sense. So, I think there is a lot of bias towards conservatives, and I’d like to see that change.”

Not all members of College Republicans chose to join because they knew Schindler beforehand. Mikayla Warrick, a freshman majoring in English with a theater minor, was the first to reach out to the group.

“Ever since I’ve been in college, I’ve been trying to be more politically active because that’s what college students are all about,” Warrick said. “I talked with the [UNI] Democrats and kind of helped them a little bit with campaigning — just to dabble a little bit — and didn’t really quite like how everything turned out with that. So, I was like, there must be a Republican party on campus.”

Warrick inquired about their meeting times and learned the group was just starting back up. She attended their first meeting at the beginning of March.

Warrick said she would like to see the UNI Democrats and College Republicans engage with one another in the future, including hosting open mics and open-table discussions to educate students who may not be very informed about politics.

Currently, the group’s greatest challenge is finances. No one has submitted a budget for the College Republicans for the last few years, according to Schindler. He hopes to obtain funding for the group next year.

“We’ve reached out to somebody from Prager University whose name is Will Witt, and he has interest to come. He just said he needs $3,000,” Schindler said. “So, I told him next fall, we’re gonna work on that. That would be something that would spark the club to get people interested. It’s one thing to get people in election season, but it’s another thing to keep people here and keep people interested.”

Schindler hopes that once the club is up and running, they can do more than just hold regular meetings to discuss politics. Schindler would like to host debates and other clubs as well as have debate watch parties. Not all of his ideas even relate to politics. He would like to have tailgating events with the College Republicans.

“I hope they feel like there’s a place on this campus for other ways of thought,” Schindler said. “The professors here are like 85 percent liberal […] There’s a big majority of us who think this certain way and hopefully they feel that there’s a place where at least once a week or twice a month, we can talk amongst each other, even have a debate with the other side just so they know that we’re here.

“Don’t act like we don’t exist. Iowa is a conservative state, whether the teachers or academia thinks it is or not. We just need to let other people know that we’re here for you, and […] there’s no reason [this club] shouldn’t be as big as all the other clubs on the other side.”

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