Republican Club Elects New Leader
The organization—recently named the most active collegiate Republican club in the country—poked fun at last year’s national presidential elections, voting for its 2002 board using a parody of the infamous Florida ballot.
Rebekah J. Ryan ’03, Josh M. Mendelsohn ’05, P.K. Agarwalla ’04, Ann W. Brown ’05 and Michael Alperovich ’04 were elected vice president, secretary, treasurer, membership director and member-at-large respectively.
The president will fill three to four other offices on the board through nominations and appointments.
Grech and other members said they see a need for the club to take public stances on prominent campus and national issues—something the organization has historically not done.
“We’ve been silent on the living wage, on ROTC, even on Afghanistan,” he said.
Grech said he was also looking forward to working with the rest of the new board to promote conservative views and increase the discourse on Harvard’s campus.
“I want to strengthen ties to other political organizations on campus such as the Harvard Democrats and the Institute of Politics. Ultimately, we all have a shared goal of increasing political discussion,” Grech said.
Grech also stressed the importance of bringing national attention to the club.
Members say one example of this was the club winning the honor of “most active” over 800 other clubs at the College Republican National Convention this summer.
“The next big project is becoming more national by getting published in the national media and bringing well-known speakers to campus,” Grech said.
HRC Election Committee Chair Justin A. Barkley ’02 said that just a few years ago, the conservative voices on campus were split into two opposing groups due to ideological differences. The HRC now claims roughly 130 dues-paying members and over 700 on its e-mail list.
Seventy-one dues-paying members voted last night in the race for the presidency—roughly the same number Barkley said voted last year.
This year’s election committee is made up of a coalition of five representatives from various conservative campus organizations. The five representatives are also members of the club.
Last year’s election saw considerable controversy, as non-members were solicited to join for voting purposes. Club membership increased from 75 to 101 in the week before the election last year.
Although the tactic was technically allowed, it prompted debate over election procedure.
“Nothing went wrong last year, but there was a perception of wrongdoing,” Porter said.
While there were no procedural changes this year, Porter said the election committee “bent over backwards to eliminate even the appearance of wrongdoing.”
Barkley said there had been no recent surge in membership.
The evening was also an opportunity for the outgoing board to reflect on its work and look forward. Porter, who began the evening by thanking the members of his board, cited the success of the club’s “Conservative Awareness Month” He was also greeted with cheers of “Porter in 2020” from the audience. He said he thought the future of the club was in good hands.
“I could not be more pleased with the candidates’ experience and energy. I know the coming board will ascend to even greater heights,” he said.