By ZACK GLOSSER
Colorado College encourages its students to debate, explore, and think critically about an array of topics both in and out of the classroom. Unsurprisingly, a main point of discussion is politics, whether it be national, state, or local. The CC campus may be involved politically, but many students do not know the how to remain involved in government and policy outside of an election year.
There is no question that CC leans left, but there is still a range of political opinions on campus. This past week I sat down with three political organizations on campus to get a better understanding of what they do and how they are trying to ignite the campus to be more involved politically.
CC Centrists is a new club as of this year, started by sophomore Lily Weissgold and junior Zac Schulman. The club meets every Tuesday in McGregor at 4:30 p.m. and has a consistent group of eight students at every meeting. Most of the members are from the Northeast, but there is diversity in both gender and age. “The goal of CC Centrists is for bipartisan dialogue about policy, not politicians,” said Weissgold. “Join the club if your opinions aren’t being heard on campus or you want to know what your peers are thinking outside the liberal echo chamber that exists at CC.” The CC Centrists focus on political policy from the federal level through the politics here at CC. Two weeks ago, they discussed health care, and the conversation turned into what defines “a right” in our society. This week’s meeting focused on free speech on campus and at a national level. The group strives to get its members to, “critically think outside of media,” said Weissgold. “Members actively participate and help to provide information by adding articles to a shared Google Drive that everyone reviews before each meeting,” she continued. The group does not endorse candidates because it wants to foster a diversity of opinions. Everyone is encouraged to join the group—or just the Google Drive—regardless of political ideology.
CC Democrats, led by junior Sophia Brown and senior Steven Ortega, is the oldest and most populated political club on campus. There are 20 consistent members, mostly from the Northeast and from Colorado. They meet every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in upstairs Worner. The meetings differ between meeting with candidates, canvassing, and general club administration. “CC Dems is a club to support and promote progressive politics,” said Brown. “It is also a place for CC students to get involved with local progressive politics and to discuss state and national politics as well.” The club is affiliated with the Democratic Party, but not part of the party itself. “We try to assist local organizations that are already promoting progressive politics and positions in Colorado Springs,” said Brown. Currently, the group is focused on two initiatives: collecting ballots in Worner (Monday to Friday from 12-2 p.m.) until Nov. 7, and supporting ballot initiative D11. The club is bringing every candidate on the Democratic ballot for the 2018 election to campus this year and encourages everyone to come. “One of our biggest initiatives is CC Votes which tries to get CC students registered and voting in every election regardless of party,” said Brown.
The third and final group is Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). Unlike the other two groups on campus, YAL is a chapter of a national organization that was created in 2008 at the end of Congressman Ron Paul’s presidential bid. Started by sophomores Caleb Kimble and Ian O’Shaughnessy, the group meets on the second Monday of every block and is made up of ten members. “The mission statement is to eloquently and respectively convey the ideas of liberty and limited government to the Colorado College community, as well as an avenue of expression for liberty-minded students,” said O’Shaughnessy. It is “to provide a space for people who are not part of the political mainstream who would like to talk to likeminded people,” Kimble added.
According to Kimble, this is a niche group specifically for students with Conservative and Libertarian ideals. The most significant initiative for YAL right now is for CC to adopt the University of Chicago free speech principals. YAL is in the process of collecting student support and currently has a petition with 65 signatures. The group has only had two meetings and is still trying to figure out this year’s goals, as both O’Shaughnessy and Kimble stated they feel as though there has been no outlet for non-liberal ideas at CC in the past. The group intends to provide a better one in the future. Although YAL is a group specifically for students with generally Conservative and Libertarian ideas, O’Shaughnessy and Kimble invite anyone to partake in future policy discussions.