Bring and Rauda: An Apology

We are the former leaders of the College Republicans — and we apologize.

by Alexander Rauda and Daniel Bring | 2/27/20 2:15am

We are the former leaders of the Dartmouth College Republicans, and we regret the impact of our actions and decisions on that organization and on the Dartmouth community. Let us make one thing perfectly clear: It was never our intention to hurt the organization that we worked so hard to build and grow. We recognize that recent events have brought scrutiny to the College Republicans, and we take any and all responsibility for the organization’s failures during our tenure.

In today’s political climate, it’s easy to get carried away. Under our leadership, the College Republicans’ public presence became purely oppositional, combatting the “radical left” and devoted to “owning the libs.” When your only stance is to oppose that of others, you feel you have no meaningful choices but to escalate the rhetoric of political — and interpersonal — conflict. This compulsion leads to a vicious cycle of increasingly hostile and alienating provocations and interactions.

We have decided to break that cycle and sincerely ask the forgiveness of our colleagues and our campus.

We would like to start by clearing the air about the recent event featuring U.S. Senate candidate Bryant “Corky” Messner.

For the public record, Mr. Bring met with officers from Safety and Security and the Hanover Police Department on the Monday morning before the event was scheduled to report on threats posed online and, accordingly, discuss security provisions for the event. Safety and Security filed the threats and said they would look into them. They had not concluded their investigation by the time we made the decision late on Monday evening to postpone the event.

By midday on Tuesday, Mr. Bring informed Collis and Safety and Security that the event was postponed. Neither Collis nor Safety and Security had been involved in the decision to postpone the event. It certainly showed poor planning and a lack of foresight that we had not requested College funding for event security in advance. It inconvenienced both Mr. Messner and the members of the College Republicans.

We are proud of much of the work we did with the College Republicans. Just this fall, we invited a diverse selection of speakers: Republican presidential candidate Gov. Bill Weld, former New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg and even an American Enterprise Institute Fellow, David Bier, who supported open borders. We welcomed political activist Mark Meckler for an attempt at a bipartisan forum on immigration. We even held social events, such as showing the movie “Vice” and hosting a Democratic debate watch party. At every turn, we attempted to foster a free and open dialogue while occasionally courting controversy.

In our most recent — and final — attempt, we unfortunately failed.

This late failure stemmed from blatant lapses in communication and organizational structure. We kept some leadership members informed of our decisions on a “need-to-know” basis, which was not conducive to the responsible functioning of the organization. We were, and still are, proud of the first-years we welcomed to expand the leadership team and broaden the organization’s perspective.

We recognize that the centralization of so much authority within our personal roles led to these organizational and managerial shortfalls. Due to this autocracy, our personal faults became the faults of the organization. Though our views on many issues have changed and matured through our time at Dartmouth, our traditionalist beliefs became too predominant in the organization’s public forum. Whenever we made a mistake, our monopoly of control just exacerbated the negative impacts on the College Republicans.

As the recent Messner event highlighted the problems of our mismanagement, we and the rest of the leadership recognized that the present system was untenable. It became a foregone conclusion that a new generation of leadership was needed to address some of the problems we had engendered. 

So, we decided to resign.

We hope that the College Republicans will now gain respect among the student body, maintain its independence from other organizations, hold fair and open elections each term, and wear its convictions on its sleeve. In any case, it must find new confidence by redefining itself. 

We can only hope that a more respectful and engaged College Republicans will now emerge. We wish the current leadership the best of luck.

When a ruthless Republican operative, Lee Atwater, was dying from cancer, he wrote, “My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood.” Keeping his words in mind, we are grateful for our youth and ability to change, as well as the many opportunities ahead of us to grow as individuals and members of the Dartmouth community.

Bring and Rauda are the former chair and vice chair of the Dartmouth College Republicans. They are members of the Class of 2021.

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