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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2018

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Letter: College Republicans respond to student complaints

Dear Editor,

The week prior to the Nov. 2 midterm elections the UMW College Republicans did something that no other club on campus has done before: we advertised our beliefs.  Our message was simple and our technique was ordinary.  With overnight advertising and complete campus coverage, our message was not only unavoidable, it was in your face. We were going to turn Fredericksburg red, and we wanted Mary Washington to know it and feel it.

Since the beginning of September the College Republicans worked over 600 hours campaigning for Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-1), the Republican candidate in his pursuit for reelection.  To conclude the campaign season, our club made one last push to gain support for Wittman.  We reached out to our student body in attempts to gain support from the inwardly moderate population, typically masked by campus’s openly liberal zeal.

By plastering the campus, we were aiming to advertise our controversial ideas and encourage students to be both aware and involved in Election Day, arguably the most important time of year for our country.  We did not attempt to force our beliefs on others. Rather, we used our provocative campaign to drive other students to take a stance and, in turn, care about voting.

Lastly, we sought to raise awareness for our own organization, the Mary Washington College Republicans, a group that has been relatively unknown until recently.

Our actions are a product of our passionate feelings toward Republicanism, Wittman and above all, political involvement.  The amount of time and effort we spent making and redistributing the signs and flyers that were torn down illustrates our dedication to these outlined causes.  Before beginning our endeavor, we were fully aware of the potential controversy and consequences of our actions. We were willing to put our club, our candidate and ourselves out there regardless of such possibilities.  Every flyer, banner and poster was OSACS approved, and had contact information for questions and concerns.

While we knew there would be negative reactions to our effort, we hoped that people would respect us for taking a risk and being ambitious about our unpopular cause.

Not only did our work directly correlate with Wittman’s reelection and Fredericksburg going red for the first time in 17 years in a federal election, it also clearly made a difference on campus.

Since students felt so inclined as to rip and insult our posters, that proves that we not only got the attention we were striving for, but we also ignited a sense of political values on campus.

The College Republicans never meant to offend anyone, and we maintain that it is better to believe in a cause than none at all.

With this letter, I hope our actions are understood clearly as products of harmless motivations, and that students can reflect on them with respect and understanding.

Erica Gouse is a senior and the chairman of the Mary Washington College Republicans.

Comments

  1. Alum

    “The week prior to the Nov. 2 midterm elections the UMW College Republicans did something that no other club on campus has done before: we advertised our beliefs.”

    Didn’t the YD’s do that first, in 2008?

  2. Wilberto

    Basically, this letter could be summed up like this:

    “We did not attempt to force our beliefs on others…we never meant to offend anyone.”

    and

    “our message was not only unavoidable, it was in your face…before beginning our endeavor,we were fully aware of the potential controversy and consequences of our actions. We were willing to put our club, our candidate and ourselves out there regardless of such possibilities.”

    I would consider covering up large parts of bulletin boards (including other posters) with multiple fliers offensive. At no point were there posters from the CR’s that read “Vote on Tuesday! <3 CR's", it was "VOTE RED ON TUESDAY".

    Sounds pretty authoritative for not forcing your beliefs on anybody.

    There is some irony in all of this; the above letter is just as contradictory as the Republican Party itself. But, please, CR's, don't take my comments as offensive, even if they are "In your face".

  3. Other Alum

    Dear Alum- WRONG

  4. Wow.

    Wow. Funny how such a small group was able to generate so much backlash. Good for them.

  5. Aubrey

    I love how this letter, attempting to apologize for being obnoxious, was itself obnoxious.

    I also believe that it is better to believe in a cause than none at all (To be fair, who doesn’t? What an inane statement), but I also believe it’s better to be quiet and think before sounding like an idiot.

    Also, if further alienating your colleagues with an annoying publicity campaign counts as making a difference on campus, then congratulations.

  6. adjkls

    Gotta love the arrogance of conservatives. Good job, you turned an apathetic college town, that has quite frequently been ‘red’, to vote for a republican.

  7. Fleur de Lulz

    Way to be apathetic there, friend. Seems like you’re jumping on the soapbox as well.

    At least I’ll always have my apathy.