Campus Republican Schism Comes to End

Leaders say not enough right-wingers for two clubs

The usually disparate Republican voices on campus now speak in unison, at least officially.

The Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance recently merged with the Harvard Republican Club to create the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Club, officers announced April 30.

"We wanted to pool our resources," explained Noah Z. Seton '00, the new club co-president and former president of the Alliance yesterday. "There aren't necessarily enough Republicans on campus to justify two clubs."

Ideological differences had formerly divided campus conservatives, splitting in 1995 a previously unified Republican club.

"I think that the split in the club led to factionalism and...was an ineffective way of forming a conservative coalition or a conservative voice on campus," said Ann L. Berry, a member of the new club.


Seton thinks the new club will strengthen alliances among republican students and in effect "will help make [Republican students] more solid on campus."

According to club members, the new club constitution explicitly notes that while members officially ascribe to the national Republican platform, there is room for a variety of specific political opinions.

"The objectives of this club is to promote rational political discourse and to foster academic freedom on the Harvard University campus...And to further the ideals of Republicanism at Harvard and the community at large," the platform reads.

The new club constitution is a joint construction drafted collectively by both groups. At a joint meeting earlier this year, members of the original two clubs voted to approve the new charter.

Not all conservatives, however, found a voice in the original Republican clubs at Harvard. As a result, some expressed skepticism that the new group would better represent their interests.

Although they comprise a large minority of Republican voters nationwide, theological conservatives have traditionally been reluctant to speak out in the context of a Republican club.

"I don't think you get the sort of theological conservatism because the atmosphere on campus is sort of a more intellectual atmosphere," said Noah D. Oppenheim '00, a former Republican Alliance member and current Crimson executive.

But Berry said the new club will gainlegitimacy from greater inclusion of differentpolitical perspectives.

"I think that if you're going to have anintellectual environment, a pre-requisite ishaving an open forum for discussion," she said.

Reaction from the other side of the politicalspectrum is mixed.

"If anything, [the merger] might activelydecrease interest in some Republicans on eitherthe conservative or liberal end," said Michael J.Passante '99, president of the College Democrats.

Passante does not view the club as a threat tocampus Democrats.

"It's just one less conservative group oncampus," he said

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