LTTE: Don’t confuse College Republicans’ inaction with malice
Two issues were recently brought to light by Maddy Scannell and Moses Glickman in : my misstatement in my interview with the Thresher on Oct. 3 and Rice University College Republicans’ lack of voter registration on campus in the past weeks. Contrary to what Maddy and Moses insinuate, both issues are wholly unrelated in nature and intention.
Regarding my misstatement, I would like to thank Maddy and Moses for correcting the record. Upon investigation, I realize now that I did receive two emails inviting RUCR to participate in voter registration efforts in early July. At the time of my interview with the Thresher on Oct. 3, I did not remember these two emails. The fact that so much time had elapsed (from early July to early October) is the reason for my misstatement. I had no ulterior motive.
Scannell and Glickman further explain that I failed to respond to the emails in July. This was an oversight on my part. The emails I received, however, contained no specific details about voter registration drives or specific events on campus. The email from the Center for Civic Leadership, dated July 6, asked me to join a committee to draft Rice’s plan to increase civic engagement on campus as part of a nationwide initiative among universities. The email from Rice University Young Democrats President Franz Brotzen, dated July 10, pertained only to voter registration during Orientation Week with a timeline still to be determined. I read both emails and appreciated the CCL’s and Brotzen’s initiative to register voters and increase civic engagement on campus. I should have responded to these emails and inquired about the dates of specific activities closer to the start of the semester in order to ensure our participation in such events. I thank the Young Democrats and other clubs on campus for their efforts to promote voter registration on campus, and I look forward to collaborating with them in the future.
The larger issue at hand, however, is the conflation of my failure to respond to two emails in the summer and Scannell and Glickman’s claim that Republicans in general do not want to register college students to vote. Nothing could be further from the truth, and such a leap in rational judgement should be striking to any reader. Republicans, myself included, want every citizen to be registered to vote.
I speak on behalf of the Rice University College Republicans when I say that we in no way want to bar or discourage any American citizen from voting, regardless of their political affiliation. Our government is a republic, which means that we are only represented insofar as we vote. Thus, voting is vital to the preservation of our nation — a statement with which all members of the Rice University College Republicans would agree. Voting is one of the most important, if not the most important, activity in which every citizen has the privilege to engage. From a very young age, I have been strongly committed to educating and civically engaging America’s youth in many forums — no matter their political ideology or their background. Any insinuation that I, as a Republican, want to discourage individuals of differing beliefs or ideologies from voting is outrageous and untrue.
Furthermore, I firmly believe that voter registration should not be a partisan activity. Rather, I believe that voting is one of the most bipartisan activities existing in our nation today. When a voter registration drive occurs on campus, my fervent hope would be that any registrar would register an individual regardless of their political ideology.
More from The Rice Thresher
On May 25, Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd. Chauvin, a Minnesota police officer, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. Floyd did not merely “die in police custody” as the Washington Post and other publications continue to insist on phrasing it. As Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, a police officer killed him. Active voice.
In the midst of a global pandemic, Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education, announced new Title IX regulations that govern how schools handle allegations of sexual assault and harrassment. Under the guise of restoring due process, the changes harm and undermine survivors by enhancing protections for those accused of misconduct.
The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have given rise to a new phrase that has been thrown around by media outlets and social media users across the country: “We are all in this together.” Don’t get me wrong — I am not denying the fact that every person in this country has been impacted by the virus in some capacity, and I am certainly not denying the rise in local expressions of solidarity. Over the past couple months, we’ve seen students and volunteers across the country donate their time and resources to help their neighbors. Young people have come together on social media platforms to address issues surrounding mental health and online learning, creating a sense of community while also practicing social distancing. I am not denying the presence of solidarity. What I would like to discuss, however, is the fallacy of solidarity in a racialized society.