The Cornell Republicans were reinstated in the N.Y. Federation of College Republicans today, in a reversal of the federation’s Sept. 4 decision to revoke the chapter’s credentials following its unorthodox endorsement of Libertarian Gary Johnson.
This announcement comes after the club filed an administrative appeal with the College Republican National Committee last Thursday, demanding to be immediately reinstated. A day after the Cornell Republicans threatened litigation, federation Chair Eli Nachmany resigned, saying he intended to focus on his job campaigning for Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“Since the leadership of the organization has changed, the executive board at the NYFCR has decided to take a vote on the reinstatement of Cornell University’s College Republican Chapter,” the federation announced in a Facebook post today.
The New York Federation said it was “happy to report” that a majority of its voting members supported reinstating the Cornellians, adding that the group is “eager” to work with the chapter “to support Republican candidates down the ballot.”
This statement marks a shift in the federation’s position — it had previously maintained that the Cornell Republican’s decision to endorse a candidate for president outside of the Republican party was unpalatable. Before the Cornell chapter was expelled, its leadership faced the options of either revoking the Johnson endorsement or leaving the federation.
In an appeal drafted by the Cornell Republicans’ lawyer, Ronald L. Kuby J.D. ’83 to Alex Smith, the National Chair of the College Republicans National Committee, the group insisted that their rights to free speech were violated over the course of the expulsion. They also said that in rejecting the chapter’s endorsement, the federation violated its own constitution, which stipulates support for conservative ideas, not Republican candidates, The Sun previously reported.
The Cornell Republican’s leadership blamed Nachmany for calling for an abrupt executive board vote to expel Cornell’s chapter, also suggesting that his status as a Trump campaign worker violated the federation’s 527 status.
Olivia Corn ’19, the chair of Cornell Republicans, said she spoke to the new chair of the N.Y. Federation, Allan Gendelman, earlier today, who agreed that Cornell’s chapter should be reinstated.
“I talked to the new Chairman of the Federation and we all agreed that since the actions were illegal and violated the Federation’s constitution, there was no hold on reinstating us,” she said.
Cornell Republicans Executive Director Austin McLaughlin ’18 added that the federation’s change in leadership demonstrates that the group has “recognized the importance of discourse on what it means to be conservative in today’s times.”
“By allowing us to endorse Gary Johnson, instead of shunning us, the NYFCR has chosen to support free speech instead of the draconian notion of ‘falling in line’ behind the GOP’s standard bearer,” he said.
Corn said that the decision became official once the new executive board was confirmed and votes were cast, expressing relief that the fight for reinstatement is “finally over.”
“After the hours and hours spent on the phone, all of our work has paid off,” she said. “I am so thrilled to be moving forward from this and lead the Republicans for the rest of the year, with hopefully little drama.”