Several College Republican groups have said the New York federation's decision to ban the Cornell Republicans violates the federation’s constitution.

Courtesy of Ithaca College Republicans

Several College Republican groups have said the New York federation's decision to ban the Cornell Republicans violates the federation’s constitution.

September 5, 2016

N.Y. College Republicans Rally Behind Cornell Chapter, Say Revocation Violated Federation’s Constitution

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This post has been updated.

A string of college Republican chapters across New York State has issued statements denouncing the state federation’s decision to revoke its recognition of the Cornell Republicans on Sunday.

The decision to revoke Cornell’s chapter came in the wake of the group’s endorsement of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson — an action the New York Federation of College Republicans called “unacceptable.” The federation said that while the group would have been within its rights to refuse to endorse nominee Donald Trump, it could not endorse another party’s candidate, The Sun previously reported.

However, in the hours following this decision, many college Republicans groups have protested that the decision to ban the Cornell Republicans violates both the federation’s constitution and a broader principle of free speech.

The Ithaca College Republicans condemned the NYFCR’s Executive Board’s decision, saying it was an “egregious violation of the NYFCR constitution” in a resolution posted to the group’s Facebook page Monday.

The constitution states that the NYFCR’s purpose is “to promote the principles of the limited government, fiscal sensibility, economic freedom and personal responsibility,” and “to aid in the election of candidates adhering to those values at every level of Government.”

Thus, the federation’s mission should be to support any candidate who has “a proven record of dedication and actions that further the goals of the Republican party and Federation,” according to the constitution. The Cornell Republicans’ endorsement message argued that Johnson better exemplifies these conservative principles than either Trump or Hillary Clinton.

“Governor Johnson’s commitment to fiscal conservatism is unparalleled,” their endorsement message says. “Governing a blue state, he shrunk the size of the government, balanced the state’s budget, and never increased taxes. While we do not agree with all of his positions, we firmly support his devotion to free trade, states’ rights, and other conservative principles.”

In their statement, the Ithaca College chapter also pointed out that there is no clause in the federation’s constitution that details the procedure for the expulsion of a member, suggesting that instead conservative groups should defer to a faith in free speech.

“As conservatives, we must respect the First Amendment right to free speech and the ability to vote and endorse any candidate,” the chapter said.

Adam Dohrenwend, president of the Geneseo College Republicans, also released a statement Monday on behalf of his chapter’s executive board, calling NYFCR’s leadership “irresponsible and heavy-handed” and its decision “hasty.”

“Not only is the action taken against Cornell unbecoming of an organization dedicated to the ideals of free speech and open discourse essential to the Republican Party, but it is also without any constitutional justification or precedent,” Dohrenwend wrote.

He added that NYFCR’s decision reflects the hostility surrounding this year’s election, especially given prominent divisions within Republican camps.

“Rather than make an effort to understand [the Cornell Republicans’] sentiment, the Federation has decided to browbeat its own members and further contribute to the divisiveness and hatred that has unfortunately been allowed to prevail this election,” Dohrenwend said.

The IC Republicans have said that they plan to “continue their positive working relationship with the Cornell University Republicans.”

Despite the support for Cornell Republicans, an NYFCR source said that, although Cornell Republicans had previously indicated they have been involved in the statewide operations, the Cornell chapter has been minimally involved and did not attend the last conference.

The source added that contrary to Cornell Republican’s statement, a member of the state federation called the Cornell chapter before their charter was revoked and explained the potential ramifications of a Johnson Endorsement.

Executive Director of Cornell Republicans Austin McLaughlin ’18 contested this story, saying he was forced to call Eli Nachmany, the NYFCR Chairman, because the board member was planning on holding an emergency vote to revoke Cornell’s chapter without consulting the club’s executive board.

“Further, he never entertained any discourse in our conversation,” McLaughlin said. “He talked as if he had already revoked recognition of us, at least in his mind.”

Neither the Ithaca College Republicans nor the Geneseo College Republicans has endorsed a candidate for president, although the Ithaca chapter previously released a statement saying that it would not support Donald Trump.

  • Abe ’14

    There’s no First Amendment right here. No state or public action.

    • For once we agree. Technically they are not violating the first Amendment and I doubt they have grounds to sue on that basis (though they may have grounds to sue if the termination violates any contract–I have no idea if it does.)

      However, it violates the hell out of the SPIRIT of the First Amendment.

      • Jason K

        When they say unconstitutional, I’m pretty sure they mean against the constitution of the NYFCR, not of the USA…

  • Anonymous

    “Eli Nachmany is a student at New York University majoring in Sports Management with a concentration in Sports Law. He is currently travelling the country as an Advance Staffer with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign.” – His LinkedIn

  • AFH

    It sounds like an excellent opportunity to start a different federation. Cornell Republicans should get on the phone with other New York College Republicans and ask them if they might be interested in a Federation that respects and promotes Conservative principles since the existing federation has been usurped as surely and the GoP itself.

  • CU Student

    I would like to know why the Cornell Republicans ended up choosing to support Mr. Johnson. Just four months ago, leadership of the group called a Johnson vote “a vote for Hillary Clinton” and that Trump was the “lesser of two evils.”

    Mr. Trump hasn’t really changed his approach over the past summer so it boggles my mind how this has unfolded like so.

    • CU Student, I obviously don’t know what caused the Cornell Republicans to re-evaluate their support for Mr. Trump. Maybe they paid attention to the news over the summer. There are so many reasons to withdraw their support.

      Maybe they were disgusted by the way Trump mocked a Gold Star family who had lost their son in Iraq.

      Or maybe they were disturbed by a June 9 story in USA Today that hundreds of people allege that Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills. Or the June 11 New York Times story of how Trump bankrupted his casinos while pocketing millions of dollars. (It takes a special talent to bankrupt a casino considering the House ALWAYS wins.) Or maybe they were disturbed by the fact that there is no evidence that Trump gave any money to charity between 2010 and 2015.

      Or maybe they read the Harvard Republican Club’s stinging condemnation of Trump as “a threat to the survival of the Republic.”

      Or maybe they were uncomfortable about the evidence piling up that the Kremlin was at least hoping for, and possibly working toward, a Trump victory. I doubt they would have felt reassured if they had read former Acting Director of the CIA, Michael Morell’s August 5th column in the New York Times calling Trump “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

      Or maybe they read Republican Political strategist Rick Wilson’s August 7 column in the New York Daily News. This was his assessment of Trump:

      ——————Begin Wilson excerpt————–

      The single worst major party nominee in modern history — a man who has no political core, lies practically every time he speaks and is patently unstable — reached this point because every leader and institution in my party, the Republican Party, has failed again and again to grapple with the grim realities of Trump’s impact on the election, the conservative movement and the character of our nation. . . .

      A growing number of Americans are coming to the realization that Trump is more than just a political train wreck; he’s a real threat to the nation, what with the fear of nuclear weapons and the sweeping power of the federal government in his tiny paws.

      —————End Wilson Excerpt——————————-

      Or Maybe they were disturbed by his apparent call to assassinate President Clinton if she appointed Justices who would restrict Second Amendment rights.

      It’s hard to say which of these factors most disqualifies Trump to be President. But if the members of the Cornell Republican Club were aware of even a few of them, they really would have freaked out had they read the interview with Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter who got to know Trump very well while writing “The Art of the Deal”. This profile by Jane Mayer was published in The New Yorker in July. Here is an excerpt:

      ———–Begin Mayer excerpt————–

      . . . the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered. . . .

      “I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

      If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”

      ——–End Mayer excerpt——————-

      Evidence that Trump was too dangerous to handle nuclear weapons was reinforced by Joe Scarborough on August 3 when he said that he had met with a national security expert who had consulted with Trump. Scarborough said the national security expert had told him that Trump asked about the use of nuclear weapons three times in an hour. One of those times he asked, “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”

      But maybe this isn’t enough to explain why the Cornell Republicans don’t support Trump. Maybe they don’t want to support him because, unlike the New York Federation College Republicans, they don’t feel comfortable endorsing a candidate who has the backing of former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke as well as the American Nazi Party. Maybe they saw the rise of vile hatred, racism, and anti-Semitism that Trump has (perhaps unwittingly) unleashed and were repulsed by the wave of fascism on the horizon.

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