By Kai Sinclair, Staff Writer
Posted 3:45 PM EST, Sat., Feb. 18, 2017
Howard University’s chapter of the College Republicans has been dormant for 10 years, but they’re back and continuing to drum up interest both on and off campus following the premier of a PBS News Hour interview on January 27.
The video package about the stigma of being young, Black and Republican featured Alexis Hasty and Daisha Martin, two Howard students and the co-presidents of the organization. Since the video’s publication, it’s received almost 38,000 views and Howard’s College Republicans have since become the subject of articles published by Blavity, The Root, and HBCU Buzz.
“The article does not say ‘Young, Black Trump-Supporters’ or ‘Young, Black Conservatives.’ The article says ‘Young, Black Republicans,’ so it’s about an experience of being a young, Black republican, being a republican woman, being a conservative woman,” Martin said.
As a Republican woman, Hasty openly express her support for President Donald Trump, adding that crime in cities like Chicago has worsened over the past eight years. She also said that Donald Trump will be able to keep those inner cities, and the country, safe.
On the other hand, some students on-campus didn’t necessarily agree with the Howard College Republican representatives.
“The video was wild,” said Christopher Johnson, a junior history major. “The claims they were making about the inner cities – some it was a little hyperbolic and exaggerated.”
The organization has met with opposition stemming from its political alignment, as well as controversy on campus. Howard’s College Republicans may be in violation of school rules outlining the protocol to be followed in order to be an official, university-recognized organization.
Emails obtained by the Hilltop reveal that the College Republicans are currently unrecognized by the university.
“During the Fall 2016 semester a student inquired about reactivation and was provided the necessary information and documents. The student has yet to follow through with the necessary items as to date,” Tobias Morgan, associate director of Howard’s Student Life and Activities, said in an email.
According to the Student Life and Activities website, only Howard-recognized organizations are permitted to use the university’s name. However, the organization received a check from former RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, under the assumption that Howard’s Republican Club had been reactivated.
Martin, however, asserted that the club has been acting in accordance with university rules. While she did mention that they have had trouble securing an on-campus advisor, she felt that the organization followed the proper protocol.
“We submitted our paperwork and got everything verified back in first semester, I would say before October or around October. So, I’m not sure what’s going on,” she said.
Additionally, the timing of the club’s resurgence aligning with the controversial 2016 Presidential Election was seen as more than coincidence to some.
Hasty said in her interview with PBS that the timing of the club’s return and the presidential race was coincidental. An article by HBCU Buzz says LeVell, a 21-year-old who worked on African-American initiatives and urban media for the Republican National Convention, and the initiative’s national director, Telly Lovelace, helped facilitate it.
“I feel like they just wanted the Black vote, so it may have been more manipulation on their [the Republican National Committee’s] part,” said Haley Ferguson, a junior psychology major.
The few months since the College Republicans’ resurgence at Howard have already been marked with controversy, which leaves some students questioning the organization’s integrity.
“I think there’s something going on. It doesn’t seem as wholesome as they made it seem,” said Daven Fowler, a sophomore marketing major. “It definitely needs to be looked into at this point.”