College Republicans lobbying against open club membership

Nate Honeycutt is a psychology senior and the Cal Poly College Republicans president. | Mustang News File Photo
Nate Honeycutt is a psychology senior and the Cal Poly College Republicans president. | Mustang News File Photo

Mustang News File Photo

College Republicans president and psychology senior Nate Honeycutt said the executive order that requires CSU clubs to accept all interested students will force some organizations to compromise core values. “In my opinion, that really defeats the purpose of a club,” he said.

Benjy Egel
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The Cal Poly College Republicans have launched a petition to end a California State University policy requiring all clubs to have open membership, saying the rule will result in members who do not adhere to conservative values.

College Republicans President and psychology senior Nate Honeycutt said California Executive Order 1068, which requires CSU-affiliated clubs to accept all interested students, will force organizations to compromise their core values.

“The crux of the open membership requirement is that all leadership and membership positions in every club have to be open to any students,” Honeycutt said. “In my opinion, that really defeats the purpose of a club.”

Executive Order 1068, issued by former CSU Chancellor Charles Reed in 2011, says that “No campus shall recognize any fraternity, sorority, living group, honor society, or other student organization unless its membership and leadership are open to all currently enrolled students at that campus, except that a social fraternity or sorority or other university living group may impose a gender limitation.”

While the executive order is enforced across the CSU system, Honeycutt hopes to start the movement against it at Cal Poly and attract attention from clubs at other schools around the state.

Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey clarified Cal Poly does not have the authority to override a CSU policy, but applauded the initiative displayed by the College Republicans.

“We will continue to support our students in the exploration of their free-speech and advocacy options in this matter, as it is our role in Student Affairs to support students in these situations,” Humphrey wrote in an email.

Humphrey added open membership does not apply to groups separated by gender, including fraternities, sororities and club sports teams.

Honeycutt submitted a memorandum to Humphrey, Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Jason Colombini, Dean of Students Jean DeCosta, Club Sports Administrator Everette Brooks and ASI Program Coordinator Michelle Crawford, detailing his club’s opposition to the executive order.

Humphrey said he had been Cc’d on the memo, but any formal discussion would take place between ASI and the College Republicans.

“The current petition being circulated by the College Republicans at Cal Poly will be treated fairly and welcomed as all other student expressions of free speech,” he said.

If non-conservative students are allowed to join the College Republicans, the club’s central purpose will be nullified, Honeycutt said.

“We would welcome any student to come to our meetings and hear what we’re about,” he said. “But with an open membership requirement, we aren’t able to protect our club and the mission and values we embody.”

About 10 years ago, a group of students opposed to the College Republicans’ viewpoints joined the club and created a liberal voting bloc, which negated the conservative values of other members, Honeycutt said.

Today, all students are welcome at College Republicans’ meetings, but they must first be registered Republicans to gain membership.

Club officers can also vote on whether students who are not politically affiliated show enough conservative values to be voted in as members.

The College Republicans fear being dominated by Democrats trying to disrupt the club’s plans if it is forced to admit all members, Honeycutt said.

“An open membership requirement makes it so that other people can spy on, take over or dilute the messages of rival groups,” he said. “We don’t want to keep people out. We just want to restrict membership so we can protect the purpose of our group.”

While Humphrey said he had heard of some clubs’ ideological opposition to the executive order, no groups had reported operational or managerial problems since its implementation.

Under Executive Order 1068, honor societies are also not allowed to deny admission to students with unsatisfactory grades, though Humphrey said he has not heard complaints on the matter.

Christian fraternity Alpha Gamma Omega and sorority Alpha Delta Chi are not recognized by Cal Poly because of Title 5, which prohibits any state-supported organization from discriminating based on religion.

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