Over the last summer, the CSUF Republicans separated from the California College Republicans due to a difference in opinion with the organization’s leadership.
President Brooke Paz, a senior public relations major who also founded the campus Students for Life organization said the split was due to personality issues in the leadership that they found “troublesome” that were wasting time and energy in resources on internal politics. Paz said the club should be focusing on coming together to get people elected, work toward conservative causes and teach students on campus about the club.
“But really it’s only been a good thing. And I think it’s been empowering to our students to see we can do our own thing. We’ve always done that and we’re going to continue to do that and do it better than ever. So we’re just going to keep growing,” Paz said.
Although the president said the club has benefited from the split, the organization has recently teamed up with other campus organizations such as Young Americans for Freedom and does intend to charter with a new organization eventually because “the (Republican) Party would like us to.”
Paz said she is passionate about reaching out to moderate and conservative students who “feel like they can’t express themselves because they think differently” in a time when, in their views, CSUF has shifted to an increasingly liberal perspective.
Dean Kazoleas, a tenured professor, said it was important to him that CSUF students know there are professors who reflect their views. While some right-leaning professors at CSUF share their political beliefs, others (especially lecturers) stay silent: uncomfortable in a left-leaning campus and “literally afraid for their jobs,” Kazoleas said.
The club is dedicated to the Constitution and free speech, Kazoleas said.
“We’re big advocates for free speech and that’s free speech for everyone. So that’s one of the things that we’re trying to sort of espouse on this capus: No matter what your political thought is or what your ideals are, you should have a right to voice those opinions,” Kazoleas said.
Paz said free speech was the reason the club brought controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos last October, an event which she calls “very successful” because of the classroom discourse it created about free speech.
“Not everyone in the club agrees with Milo 100 percent of the time or maybe not even all the time, the point was free speech,” Paz said. “The most important thing that I say first and foremost to anyone who meets us is that we’re open, that we are really based on dialogue.”
The College Republicans are planning to invite a speaker again this year, but intends to bring someone less controversial and “really substantive.” Paz said the club is designed to be a “safe haven for students who feel like their opinion has been marginalized on campus.”
Both Paz and Kazoleas made it clear that they are “more than a Republican club.” President and professor alike described how the club also attracts other political thinkers such as Libertarians, Independents and Conservatives.