By Alex Pilkington
On Aug. 22., 2018, the FGCU College Republicans lost nearly half of their executive board. The reason behind this? The newly minted leadership of the group had taken a drastically different ideological turn for, what we believedto be, the worse. We no longer saw the College Republicans as an organization that was welcomed the Republican Party’s “Big tent” mantra. In this aberrant political time of Donald Trump’s presidency, this should not have come as a shock to us.
The three of us had been with the organization for varying amounts of time. Two of us joined with the College Republicans Fall 2015, and the other had joined in Fall 2017 as a freshman. We had invested a ton of time, effort and energy into the organization but could no longer justify our involvement in a club that normalizes the evilest qualities of “social conservatism.” One of us even completely left the Republican Party following.
We want to note that we are certain that the success achieved by the College Republicans this past year was in large part due to our involvement. The statements that garnered media attention about M4OL, the Second Amendment Week and a meeting with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students were written by one of us. Also, the bigger events put on were in large part organized by us. We tabled the most and likely gathered the most contacts in the organization. While we truly believe in our contribution, we also recognize the important contributions by former executive board members that have since graduated and wish to assure you that our qualms are not with them.
Extending beyond what we had already contributed to the organization, we even did our best to ensure the chaos that would ensue following our departure was as mitigated as possible by offering to help in any way we possibly could. We left assuring them any questions or advice they needed would be answered as our replacements learned their roles. On top of this, we had even secured Roger Stone, one of Trump’s top campaign aides, to come to campus for no cost on behalf of their organization as a last parting gift. However, they refused stating they weren’t ready to host him. (The TPUSA chapter which is newly formed has agreed to host Roger later this semester.)
As we reflect on what the College Republicans hasaccomplished – or rather, failed to accomplish – since our absence is telling. The social media presence has been atrocious. We believe there was only three meetings held this semester. Large scale events, which were planned while we were board members, never actually came to fruition. The singular event they hosted without any of our help, the debate between the candidates for FL State House 76, drew a crowd of 23 people.
So, what happened? It’s simple. The leadership of the FGCU College Republicans is nonexistent. If it does exist, those in charge most certainly do not know how to succeed in their roles. The most telling example came on the day of the Political Philosophy Debate, which again,was almost solely organized by one of us. The new PR Chair for the College Republicans forgot to answer her phone, and thus could not pick up the conservative participant in the debate from his hotel, which nearly caused him to be late.
The leadership is so nonexistent, in fact, that not a single current executive board member was granted VIP access for the Donald Trump rally at Hertz Arena this past Wednesday (however, two of us former CR executive board members were both offered VIP tickets, even though we do not support the President with the same amount of enthusiasm as the College Republicans leadership). The FGCU College Republicans have faltered and failed this semester. They may play this off as they were too busy with volunteering on campaigns, however if that were the case, they would have been offered a few VIP tickets for their efforts.
It’s not simply us who notice the currently failing leadership, it’s the community as well. The FGCU College Republicans drove out their backbone and are paying the price.