October 7, 2003

C.U. Republicans Splinter Off

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Criticizing the Cornell College Republicans as “continually shooting [themselves] in the foot,” Darren Rumack ’04, along with Ari Stern ’05, recently founded the Republicans of Cornell Coalition (ROCC) as a more “inclusive” rival to the College Republicans.

Although ROCC’s claimed membership of 60 members pales in comparison to the 753 claimed by the College Republicans, the ROCC seeks to be recognized as the legitimate Republican organization at Cornell.

“Since becoming active in campus politics, I have seen the Cornell Republicans hurt the image of the GOP and the conservative movement,” Stern said. “Rather than build bridges with other Cornell organizations, the Cornell Republicans have unfortunately disenfranchised many conservatives at Cornell, as well as turned away many potential moderate voters. The ROCC was formed in order to help improve the image of Republicans in this area, uniting moderates and conservatives alike.”

Rumack and Stern feel that the College Republicans have moved so far to the right as to alienate most members.

“The biggest problem was that they essentially developed an ideological litmus test, and if you weren’t deemed conservative enough, you were blacklisted, and not given any voice within the group,” Rumack said. “In terms of being a more inclusive party, we do not believe in litmus tests. Our belief is that if you consider yourself a Republican, you are welcome in our party.”

According to Rumack, the ROCC has already become involved in campus political issues, such as protesting the selection of Cynthia McKinney as a Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of ’56 Professor and endorsing candidates for the freshman seat on the SA. Later this month, the ROCC is hosting Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) as a speaker. ROCC Vice President of Community Relations Lindsey Plotnick ’05 is currently running for the 5th Ward seat on the Ithaca Common Council.

Elliott M. Reed ’05, Chairman of the Cornell College Republicans dismissed Rumack and Stern’s claim that the College Republicans excluded moderate voices and said that the ROCC’s views are to the left of those of most Republicans.

“They deny being liberal [or] moderate, but reasonable people can see that they clearly do not represent a conservative majority,” Reed said.

Stern disagreed with Reed’s assertion, saying that it was the College Republicans, rather than the ROCC who were out of step with typical Republican viewpoints.

“Elliott’s assertion has absolutely no validity. The Republicans of Cornell Coalition adheres to the platform set forth by the RNC