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For the past several years, there has been a concerted effort by the extreme voices of the conservative movement on campus not only to tackle the left but also to silence any voices on the right that might disagree with theirs. The members of the campus's far right have taken to political underhandedness, deceit and shameful behavior to achieve their end of hegemony in conservative discourse on campus. All the while, they have attempted to maintain a facade of fair play and honesty. Fortunately, most informed Harvard students accept this facade for exactly what it is--a facade.
For years, extremists have tried to silence and ride roughshod over conservatives who disagreed with them in even the slightest manner. Many self-respecting Republicans, having had enough of the dishonesty and unfairness that permeated Harvard Republican Club (HRC) dealings, decided that enough was enough, and they formed the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance (HRRA).
It is a shame that the new board of the HRC has not decided to move beyond the disgraceful tactics of its predecessors. Jay Dickerson's letter to The Crimson ("Charges Against HRC Unjustified," May 15, 1995) is evidence of that.
Dickerson states that the HRC did not pad the membership rolls in order to have a certain far-right slate elected in club elections last February. But when the HRC's membership list is inspected and a great number of members are found to be roommates, girlfriends, boyfriends and otherwise politically apathetic members, one has to wonder whether or not the HRC's elections were conducted in an upright manner. Moreover, when some of these roommates and dormmates are reputed to have claimed to have only paid half of club dues in order to vote, the integrity of the entire club is called into question.
Secondly, Dickerson claims that the HRRA has 14 members on the Executive Board. Dickerson ought to check his facts before he opens his mouth. The board is made up of seven people. If my facts are correct, the HRC board is made up of six people and at least three heads of `committees.' If anybody is resume-padding, it is not the HRRA, it is the HRC.
Third, Dickerson states that no members were made to feel uncomfortable at any one of the few HRC meetings that were held this semester. Members of the HRRA who did attend would beg to differ. Unlike the HRC, the HRRA has in no way pressured people not to attend HRC meetings. In fact, the HRRA has encouraged members to attend as many Republican meetings as possible. However, when those members did go the HRC functions, they were treated in a less-than-respectful manner.
Fourth, I would like to refute Dickerson's claims that I personally was a negligent and incompetent Executive Board member. The fact is, the HRC's officers made up certain meetings of which I was never notified. They then claimed that I was unexcused from those meetings.
One of the meetings they claim that I was unexcused from was an interview with a reporter from the Boston Globe. In fact, I explicitly asked the club president to be invited to that interview. I was never notified of any interview time, and it was only after the interview that I was informed that it even took place. There can be no denying why I was locked out of the interview. Club officers knew that had I been invited to the interview, I would have shattered the image of a hard right, Peninsula-only, Republican constituency on campus. So they reached into their big bag of dirty tricks, excluded me and then claimed me as unexcused. The same can be said of the other "unexcused" absences that they counted against me. (And I have been claiming this since December; this is not a new charge.) Obviously, when it comes to underhanded tactics, it is very difficult to beat the HRC.
It is said that after so much talk of a new day at HRC, after so much talk of independence and even after a few jabs at Peninsula, Jay Dickerson and his board have turned out to be more of the same. We at HRRA don't like to say "I told you so," but since February we have been saying that the only way to revitalize Republicanism at Harvard and the only way to include all Republicans on campus in conservative discourse was to form a new group independent of the HRC. Dickerson's sad display in The Crimson just further proves our point. William Zerhouni '98 Vice President, HRRA
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