Republican Club Sparks Outrage

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Republican Club Sparks Outrage

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On Wednesday, two student members of the Champlain Republican Club were tabling outside of IDX in promotion for their second “Change My Mind” event. They were met with swift backlash from students, staff, and faculty. 

“I am deeply disappointed with the actions Champlain has allowed to happen on campus, as well as the insincere response in [the] protection of targeted and marginalized groups,” Hannah Warren, senior, said on Thursday. 

“I think it’s disingenuous that the school [Champlain] claims to support their trans and nonbinary students, but this can happen in such a trafficked and public space,” said Ollie Plamp, junior, on Thursday. 

Reese Kelly, Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Community, and Inclusion, responded on behalf of the college Thursday morning. In an email to students, staff, and faculty, Reese said “Champlain College unequivocally acknowledges and celebrates the existence of the vast gender diversity in the world and in our community. The College does not agree with the views expressed on the poster.”

The email also states that over twenty bias incident reports were filed by members of the Champlain community after walking by the tabling.

Reese went on to say, “We also recognize the Republican Club’s right to express their views through tabling and by hosting events. Expressing one’s perspective and ideology is not a violation of Champlain’s Standards of Conduct. However, we also ask that all members of our community exercise their freedom of expression responsibly to avoid causing harm to others. While freedom of expression allows for hurtful speech, we are collectively responsible for using our voices in response when members of our community tell us that they feel hurt and unsafe.”

The “Change My Mind” events mirror similar ones popularized by Steven Crowder. It was turned into a popular internet meme after Crowder’s controversial visit to Texas Christian University went viral in 2018. 

The upcoming event, set to take place on November 8 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 in the Alumni Auditorium, will be the second of this event held by the club. The first event, which occurred in Fireside Lounge a few weeks ago, brought dozens of students, staff, and faculty into a discussion around gun control. 

The Crossover has reached out to the Republican Club, and the students involved in tabling, for comment, but has not yet received a response.