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Dalal: UWCR may be stripped of their namesake, but their right to assemble means continued harassment

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For years at the UW, one small group of ignorant students has made recurring headlines for their continued inflammatory opinions and actions, all done while masked behind their title — the UW College Republicans (UWCR).

It was only last spring quarter when students gathered outside the HUB to stand face to face with the handful of UWCR members. The group’s presence and associated protestors angered many with their utter disregard for Polynesian Day. Anchored behind their advertised anti-affirmative action bake sale, the UWCR was wholly transparent.

While offering few substantiated claims and even less knowledge on the issue they felt so opposed to, the group incited the crowd and distracted from the UW Polynesian Student Alliance’s day of celebration. Loosely united on the generically controversial anti-affirmative action position, the group maintained proud grimaces as a mass of students demanded informed conversation.

For a majority of the UW community, the UWCR’s hateful sentiment is not just unwanted; it is built on a rhetoric of white nationalism, promoting a racist agenda, and the group has finally been denounced by the College Republican National Committee (CRNC). 

Whether it be the MAGA-hats, emblems of the current corrupt presidency, or their 2017 sponsorship of former Breitbart News Network editor Milo Yiannopoulos, or the decision to sue the UW for necessitating security costs for the group’s own event, or for inviting Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys to the UW campus — the actions of the UWCR have prompted their title revocation, leaving the Husky College Republicans as the new group officially recognized by the CRNC.

The UWCR has lost its RSO status and will be forced to convene under a new name, if it so chooses to continue its unethical reign, which UWCR President Armen Tooloee has already stated he is likely to do.

Denouncing the UWCR would be one thing, but to formally strip it of its affiliation with the CRNC legitimizes all of the former RSO’s futile jabs at public attention. Though this is truly momentous, it is not enough for the club to stop provoking others in the future.

While there may be an issue of censorship of the UWCR in the case it does recreate a new group, the school should act with greater responsibility to its student populace that does not take kindly to the group’s history of shameless offense. 

Having differing opinions and offering a public space for students with these opinions is constitutional and necessary in promoting the freedom of speech. These entitlements, however, must be well defined, especially on a school campus that should be a safe space for all. 

Inviting Yiannopoulos to campus in 2017 inadvertently led to an individual being shot. This event utilized campus grounds to host individuals known for their hateful agenda. Although members of the UWCR were not involved in the shooting, it was at an event they sponsored, inviting violence to campus. 

The UWCR has affirmed their bad reputation time and time again, assembling as a small group, but capable of immense academic distraction and personal inhibition. For many at the UW, the group has made campus feel unwelcome, capitalizing on their right to mobilize with such with limited regulation.

The UW should enforce the CRNC’s statement for the group to disband under their current title and implement greater RSO oversight for the inevitable reconstruction of this group, ensuring that the club does not merely reform under the same guiding principles, or lack thereof. Campus is a shared ground that should really be better protected, and the administration should be more aware of protecting the safety of its student body. 

Reach columnist Suhani Dalal at Twitter: @DalalSuhani

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