After the official Republican Party at Cornell University endorsed Libertarian Gary Johnson over Republican Donald Trump, the New York Federation of College Republicans stripped its credentials.
The NYFCR received criticism from other College Republican chapters for allegedly taking away the party’s right of free speech, the Cornell Daily Sun reports.
The Cornell Republicans stated on their Facebook page that Johnson serves as a conservative that meets the member’s “ideological diversity” and properly supports the values of “American conservatism.” They also stated that Trump has an angry demeanor that does not validate their conservative beliefs.
“Governing a blue state, he (Johnson) shrunk the size of government, balanced the state’s budget, and never increased taxes,” the Facebook post read. “While we do not agree with all of his positions, we firmly support his devotion to free trade, states’ rights, and other conservative principles.”
In response, the New York Federation of College Republicans decided to strip the Cornell chapter’s credentials leaving an opportunity to reapply next semester. The decision was based on Cornell endorsing a candidate outside of the Republican Party. The NYFCR represents the body of College Republicans in New York state.
“Clubs are within their right not to endorse certain candidates within the party and decide to reallocate their resources down the ballot,” the NYFCR wrote in a Facebook post. “What is unacceptable, however, is using a party-affiliated organization as a tool to support another party’s candidate in an election.”
In another statement by the Cornell Republicans after the revocation, they suggest that the NYFCR’s decision is suppressing free speech on college campuses risking the sake of the Republican Party. In their statement, they stressed the diversity of the club and the importance of open political discussion. In response to a lawsuit threat from NYFCR, they changed their chapter name to Cornell Conservatives.
Ithaca College Republicans executive board denounced its support for Trump, and days later it posted a resolution condemning the NYFCR’s decision to remove Cornell’s chapter claiming it breaks the federation’s constitution.
“We stand for free speech. We stand with the Cornell Republicans,” the post read. “As conservatives, we must respect the First Amendment right to free speech and the ability to vote and endorse any candidate.”
Geneseo College Republicans also posted a statement saying the action of the NYFCR is dividing the Republican Party.
“Not only is the action taken against Cornell unbecoming of an organization dedicated to the ideals of free speech and open discourse essential to the Republican Party,” Adam Dohrenwend, president of the Geneseo College Republicans, said in his statement. “But it is also without any constitutional justification or precedent.”
More backlash toward the NYFCR surfaced with a petition on change.org to “Stand with Cornell University College Republicans” claiming the decision threatens college chapters from making individual endorsement decisions.
Ithaca College Republicans executive board announced last week that it will not support Trump but are not endorsing another candidate. It is one of many college Republican chapters not supporting the Republican candidate. Debates among college campuses continue regarding whether or not to endorse and support Trump.