Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass Republican Club: Not just for Republicans

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(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

The UMass Republican club isn’t exclusive to Republicans. They pride themselves on welcoming students of all political affiliations to join their weekly meetings held in the Student Union room 413 at 7 p.m. every Monday.

Founded in the 1970s, the UMass Republican Club began as a small group that discussed political issues. Through the efforts of its leaders, the organization has grown to around 25 active members and has hosted several famous speakers in the past few years.

Current president David Kaufman says that the club was not always as big as it is now. When Kaufman was a freshman three years ago, the club only had seven students and even lacked a secretary.

When none of his peers stepped up to the plate for leadership positions, Kaufman ran for president at the end of his freshman year and has maintained the position for three years.

Each meeting opens up with a discussion on domestic and global current affairs, events that have happened in the week, opportunities for club members in the political field and plans for future events.

The club offers members many opportunities, including working on different political campaigns. In the last election, the group focused on Scott Brown’s and Linda McMahon’s campaigns, and more recently, a few members have been working on Charlie Baker’s race for governor.

Kaufman is hopeful that UMass Republicans will be able to host two events this year – a small event in the fall, followed by a larger event in the spring. The club has tentative plans for speakers such as author Ben Carson, former Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, former Florida Rep. Allen West and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In the past, the club has hosted former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and commentator Ann Coulter.

One goal that Kaufman has in mind is to promote a pro-woman and pro-minority agenda.

“We want to change our image on how people view the Republican party, specifically how our club is viewed, and would like to show others that it is inclusive as well,” he said.

Kaufman explained that he wants to ensure that others see the club not just as a Republican club for Republicans, but a club for anyone to join. While the club brings its conservative ideals to campus, Kaufman said that the club is not defined by just Republican values.

“We have fairly liberal stances on some social issues, but they vary for each person,” he said.

Under the leadership of Kaufman, the organization hopes to break the stigma carried by the more conservative wing of the party. He intends to accomplish this by opening the club up to more critical discussion on all topics, rather than just those of his party’s own platform.

Christina Yacono can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “UMass Republican Club: Not just for Republicans”

  1. David Lloyd on October 30th, 2014 2:39 pm

    Glad to see this well written article. It is great to see that David Kaufman and members of the Republican Club are actually promoting intellectual and political diversity on campus. This is a good thing for the entire UMass Amherst community. The College Republicans is a welcome antidote to the stale conformity of a left-wing echo chamber that exists on many campuses. It is healthy for liberals and progressives to be compelled to defend their ideology and policies, especially when both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts state government has suffered from multiple examples of corruption, managerial failures and incompetence during the Patrick Administration. Yes, when the state wastes billions of dollars, and does not act fiscally responsible, that hurts the poor, students, elderly, and middle class as well. The old school rhetoric about how voting for a Republican is evil no longer carries any weight. Everyone in the state, of all backgrounds and classes, have suffered from the scandals and public sector failures that have arisen during the Governor’s reign. That explains why large numbers of Democrats are working for, funding, and voting for Charlie Baker. They recognize that one-party rule, and a lack of diversity, had led to a toxic situation on Beacon Hill. Thus, competent, effective, honest, and smart leadership is needed to steer the state. It can’t come from another establishment candidate such as the Attorney General.

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