In response to Rebekah Waldron’s mischaracterization of College Republicans (Daily Nexus, “Dishonesty Is Not the Best Policy, College Republicans,” Feb. 25, 2003) I, the organizer of the Shannon Reeves event, would like to submit the following defense:
There was no deceit or trickery on our part. The funding process, which involved a written proposal and a presentation before the Student Commission on Racial Equality, could not be a simpler, clearer one. The College Republicans was listed as a co-sponsor on paper and verbally confirmed it during the presentation.
We all wear many different hats. I began this project and was later appointed as lecture coordinator for the College Republicans only to smooth the bureaucratic structure in organizing this joint lecture; I thought presenting myself as the multicultural awareness chair of Manzanita Village, which began and organized the event, was most appropriate and accurate. I did not mean to deceive.
I have been a College Republican, there is no point denying it. During my presentation, I was reminded by the presence of Student Commission on Racial Equality (S.C.O.R.E.) members, aware of my involvement, that I would have gotten nowhere by lying.
Rebekah also pointed out other inconsistencies between the proposal and the actual event. It was weeks prior to the event when the proposal was presented to S.C.O.R.E., and I presented all information available to me at the time. In fact, I did plan on holding the event in Manzanita at the time. I was working with my boss, the Getman Intern and the Manzanita resident director for a suitable location. Unfortunately, none of the venues at Manzanita fit the needs of this lecture. Embarcadero Hall, being the newest lecture hall and relatively close to Manzanita, seemed to be the best alternative.
I was a little disappointed to not find those who complained about the event in the audience. Had they attended the event, they would learn that Reeves came with a message of inclusion, of bringing black American issues to the Republican Party. I believe he educated the Republicans about black issues more than blacks about conservatism.
The topic I presented to S.C.O.R.E., “In recognition of Black History Month,” reflected the theme of Mr. Reeves’ presentation – the speech was about Black History Month. Our website, , has made mentioning of our efforts with Black History Month all along. The flier is right that Reeves is black and conservative, but he is not Jesse Jackson’s worst nightmare. It was just an advertising ploy intended to provoke interests.
The Reeves event was co-sponsored by the College Republicans, the Young America’s Foundation, A.S. Finance Board, the Black Studies Dept., the Educational Opportunity Program, Chancellor Yang and Vice Chancellor Young.
The disclaimer, “Provision of funding by sponsors does not represent endorsement or approval of the event or its content,” is clearly labeled on all advertising literature. I regret that Rebekah felt deceived by our fliers. However, in Rebekah’s own admission, why should S.C.O.R.E. care who is the main sponsor for the event if they don’t discriminate against an organization’s ideological origin?
Even though the message of the College Republicans is an inclusive and welcoming one, the mudslinging and mischaracterization by this “progressive” A.S. committee, whose supposed mission is to represent all students’ interests, will only drive conservatives and moderates on this campus down the spiral of silence.
If S.C.O.R.E. is genuinely interested in funding a conservative and his or her message, maybe they should start by showing up to conservative events, working and communicating with the leaders, instead of publicly accusing someone of lying before conferring with the organizers, and before the event even takes place.
Ed Chen is the executive director of the College Republicans and the multicultural awareness chair of the Manzanita Village.