Conservatives look for support
Colleges may be known as a haven for liberals, but conservatives at the university want to take back their ground.
Conservative and libertarian students are working to promote their viewpoints and shake Republican stigmas at the university.
“We feel we need to work harder to make our views known,” said freshman civil and environmental engineering major Andy Stershic. “Unlike a Democrat meeting where tons of people show up, that isn’t the case with us.”
The College Republicans have been preparing to amp their plans for the upcoming election season.
“In the coming months, we plan to hold social events on campus to try and energize conservative University of Maryland students and register them to vote,” said sophomore government and politics and history major Christopher Banerjee, president of the College Republicans.
According to Banerjee, they hope to hold a candidates’ forum with the College Democrats and present different candidates’ views. They also plan to rally conservative voters in Virginia to retain the Senate seat held by retiring Republican John Warner, help with House races in Northern Virginia and assemble support for the two Republican congressmen running for reelection in Maryland.
With the election season heating up, conservative and libertarian students will resurrect The Terrapin Times, an independent right-of-center newspaper that went out of print a few years ago, this November.
“We see a strong liberal bias on the campus in general, and a moderate liberal bias in campus publications,” said graduate student Steve Miller, editor in chief of The Terrapin Times. “We want to provide a voice for under-represented students and thought here at Maryland.”
Staff members of The Terrapin Times put a strong emphasis on an alleged liberal bias at the university as their main motivation.
“Universities have become a place of indoctrination and intimidation rather than a place for academic freedom and freedom of ideas,” said graduate student Michael Gaither, the paper’s publisher.
Despite facing what they view as a predominately liberal university, optimism seems prevalent among Republican students. Banerjee suspects Republicans will retain the White House, citing numerous blue states that will be put into play by the different possible Republican nominees and the candidate he describes as the unelectable Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton.
Miller doesn’t seem concerned about finding an audience at the university, stating that The Terrapin Times plans to fight for those who haven’t yet adhered to a political ideology.
“The majority of students at [the university] are not registered Democrats or Republicans,” Miller said. “We interpret that situation as one where most people are still learning about what they believe and who they are.”
“There is always an audience for liberty in the United States,” said Miller. “If there ever ceases to be one, I will take my family and leave.”