College democrats in limbo, republicans campaign

Elizabeth Taylor, Campus Reporter

On Eastern’s website, the College Democrats is an active registered student organization with officers and scheduled biweekly meetings.

However, they have not had a meeting in over a year.

Brock Hammond, a senior political science major, discovered this discrepancy and has been trying to revive the group. 

“Since there’s an EIU College Republicans, I think there should be a College Democrats option too,” Hammond said. 

According to the RSO rules, the previous president of a club has to hand over that presidency willingly, meaning that nobody can take over a group without their consent. 

The current president of the College Democrat RSO is Morgan Colvin, another senior political science major. 

She has not responded to Hammond’s attempts to reach out to her, and he said that when other students contacted her with the same purpose last year, she declined to hand over the presidency, though it is unclear whether that was an intentional decision or a misunderstanding.  

The deadline for RSO paperwork has passed, but Hammond has researched alternate ways to get a group started in the future. 

The College Democrats have chapters in several Illinois schools, but a similar organization called the Young Democrats could be connected to Eastern instead.

Professor Kevin Anderson said he plans to continue to serve as the adviser for the College Democrats.

Michael Fields, a senior political science major, is the current president of Eastern’s College Republicans.

He agrees that the Democrats RSO should be reinstated; he said the College Republicans faced similar inactivity issues last year before he became president and started holding weekly meetings again. 

Fields said he wants more college students to vote, no matter which side of the political spectrum they fall under.

“We have the primaries here in March,” Fields said. “Hopefully the Democrats will be up by then (and) we can put up a table together to encourage students to vote.” 

In the meantime, the College Republicans have been holding meetings as usual, as well as working on community outreach like door-to-door campaigning and working with the Log Cabin Republicans in Mattoon. 

In the spring, the RSO plans to do some work with the food pantry.

They have also had several Republican candidates for Illinois political positions as guest speakers, including Jeff Fleming, Alex Walker and Laurie Fuller.

The EIU College Republicans web page under Eastern’s RSO site invites students to visit whether they are, “Republican, conservative, libertarian, constitutionalist or just fed up with out of control taxation, spending and government regulation.”

Fields said he would also encourage those with liberal beliefs to attend.

“I think it’s important that you see both sides of the coin in order to make a decision,” he said. “I’ve been a registered Democrat, and I’m now a registered Republican because I’ve seen both sides of the issue.”

His goal for the group is to have as many guest speakers as possible, including Democratic candidates as there have been in the past. 

The College Republicans meet every Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Booth Library Edgar Room.

If the College Democrats get reinstated and begin holding meetings again, they will work with potential members to decide a meeting time and location. 

Elizabeth Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]