The first official meeting for the University of La Verne’s new College Republican Club was held Oct 6. Members Matthew Sibert, Melissa Castillo, Danica Cruz, Adam Elmayan, James Breitling and Amber Topoleski gathered to discuss the prospects of their candidates – local, statewide and national – in the upcoming general election Nov. 2.
In response to an absence of conservative voices on the University of La Verne campus, a group of students have started a Republican Club.
At the club’s first meeting, which was held on Oct. 6, students volunteered for officer positions within the club and enjoyed guest speaker James Breitling, a ULV alumnus who is the campaign director for 43rd District assembly candidate Allen Wapner.
Club co-founder, political science major Melissa Castillo, said that student response has been encouraging.
“There are a lot of students, conservatives and moderates, who felt that there was no outlet for their views at ULV,” Castillo said.
“What we’re trying to do is create a forum for them, and there have been a lot of people thanking us for it,” she said.
When asked about rumors that this might spur the creation of a campus Democrat club, Castillo said that it would be a great way for students who do not really know where they stand to have an opportunity to explore both sides of the political spectrum.
She added that the two clubs could possibly team up to hold debates over important political issues.
On the other hand, club co-founder and political science major Amber Topoleski, said she feels that there would be no productive way to hold inter-club debates and wants to focus the club in other directions.
“When I started this club I did it in the spirit of peace,” Topoleski said.
“We’ve already taken a bunch of crap from classmates, I can’t see anything like that working out. Besides, there is no Democrat Club. I want to bring speakers to campus that everyone can experience, look into fundraising and focus on the local community,” she said.
Topoleski did say, however, that students of various political beliefs are welcome at the club.
“We don’t discriminate. If you’re a Democrat, you’re welcome to come out and talk with us,” said Topoleski.
As for the recent vandalism nearly two weeks ago involving the defacing of an anti-Bush message painted on the Rock outside of Founders Hall, Castillo said that she hopes that in the future people will find more constructive ways of expressing their views.
John Patrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.