College Republicans lobbying against open club membership

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

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.

  • flashsteve

    I understand Mr. Honeycutt’s concern, but I’m afraid he is on a losing mission. I am a conservative Republican, but I would not want to limit my party to just those who agree with me on every issue. I doubt if many liberals could tolerate hours of Republican discourse, so, even if they do join the club, they will eventually run away screaming. Welcome everyone; hey, you might even convert a few of them.

    • Jdban

      His point is valid, as proven by the fact that it happened before. If you get 50 people who decide “lol lets fuck up this club” they can start attending meetings and vote out the president, put their own in, and basically shut down the purpose of the club.

      • SanFrann

        Ahhhhhh…Democracy!

        • http://SLORider.com SLORider

          Wrong. People have a Constitutional right of freedom of association. Democracy does not trump and infiltrate here.

          By the way… do you consider the unilateral Executive Order “democracy”?

          • SanFrann

            You missed my point cowboy. I was sending up the tenets of democracy, not stating that it was happening here….

      • PapaGUnit

        You can basically do that with any organization…even via other means.

      • Ed

        There’s no rule on the CSU books that says officers have to be voted in. This whole issue could be avoided if the officers were appointed instead.

  • Okay

    LOL. Is this club’s next step to only allow people of the Aryan race?

    • http://SLORider.com SLORider

      That is really an ignorant statement, and quite bigoted.

      • Okay

        WELL MY COMMENT HAS MORE LIKES SO… HA!

        • http://SLORider.com SLORider

          Many people are ignorant and bigoted. Rising above requires some effort and logical thinking.

  • SanFrann

    If you want to be affiliated with Cal Poly, you must adhere to their (and the CSU system’s) rules. If you prefer your club to have a closed membership, you can – just have it outside the umbrella of the university. Simple parliamentary procedure – as Republican club, you may want to study up on that.

    • Dev Adv

      Yes, as the law currently stands. They can also pettition CSU to change or strike down the current law. This is also democratic procedure.

  • Birdman

    Just because rules exist does not mean that they are right or appropriate (flashback 1919 and earlier: sorry women the “rules” say you can’t vote. Tough. ). The CSU system existed up to Dec. 2011without open membership requirements, why now the need for the policy? … Democracy has nothing to do with the issue. Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, the Local Democrat and Republican Party Organizations, Lions Clubs, Elks Clubs (and the list could go on) have the right to restrict their membership, and they do: it’s called the Freedom of Association (See First Amendment). Individuals have the right to determine who to associate with and who NOT to associate with. This right should not be checked at the door of a university. … I think the fact that the Republican Club is spearheading this issue it turning on the blinders for many people. This policy effects many groups. Should advocates for coal and fossil fuels be allowed in the Green Energy club? What about honor societies (mentioned briefly at the end of the article)? Would defenders of this policy argue that in the spirit of “inclusiveness” and “open membership” that C average students be admitted into Honor Societies? No. (But under the current policy this is possible!) What about other majors? Should an English Major who has never taken an Engineering class in their life be allowed in the Engineering Honor Society? No. If you don’t like a club, join another. If another doesn’t exist start your own. It isn’t that hard. Further, exist outside of a university? Why should a group have to exist as a second-class club just to protect their values and the
    mission they are trying to achieve? That seems quite backwards. I did a quick search of the Internet and found some great info on this topic here: http://thefire.org/article/12189.html . As put by FIRE, through this policy the CSU is enforcing a manufactured form of diversity within groups instead of protecting diversity among groups.

  • Bro Beans

    I think the reason democrats in this thread are having such a hard time understanding this issue is because they are too disorganized and too busy praising Obama and the leftist agenda to have a club of their own so of course they won’t understand the reality of this issue

  • asdf

    Is this actually a problem… for any club?

  • Gina

    Do the officers of the club not realize that you can have a policy written into your bylaws that allows you to remove club members? I am the President of the Argentine Tango Club on campus, and we have a clause in our bylaws that allows the officers to vote to remove/ban someone from club activities if they are acting inappropriately. If the College Republicans club is so worried about “liberal infiltrators,” why not just vote out any club members that present a problem? Officers can even choose to appoint new officers rather than have them voted in, which nullifies the issue of any kind of malevolent takeover. The purpose of the Executive Order is to ensure that no club can discriminate against any group of people, and that is an incredibly important protection to have in place. In my opinion, assuaging one club’s misguided fear of some sort of liberal coup is not worth removing that protection.

    • http://SLORider.com SLORider

      The Executive Order (read: unilateral undemocratic) is discriminatory itself.

  • N8

    It is exciting to see all the discussion generated around this topic! On Monday a lawyer, Joe Cohn, from FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) is coming to speak on the importance of Free Speech. He will also be specifically addressing the Open Membership Policy. Mr. Cohn’s talk is on 11/4/13 @ 7:30 PM in building 180 room 101. This will be a great opportunity to have a dialogue and learn about these topics from an “outside individual” that has dealt with these matters across that nation from a legal angle, especially as the campus moves forward in discussing/resolving this issue. I hope you can attend!

  • http://SLORider.com SLORider

    The Republicans are correct. CSU is violating the Constitution.

    The rights to free speech and political association are “protected against federal encroachment by the First Amendment [and] are entitled under the Fourteenth Amendment to the same protection from infringement by the States. [Citation.]” (Mine Workers v. Illinois Bar Assn. (1967) 389 U.S. 217, 222, fn. 4 [19 L.Ed.2d 426, 88 S.Ct. 353]; see also Hudgens v. NLRB (1976) 424 U.S. 507, 513 [47 L.Ed.2d 196, 96 S.Ct. 1029] ["It is, of course, a commonplace that the constitutional guarantee of free speech is a guarantee only against abridgment by government, federal or state."].)

    Because CSU is a state government entity, CSU cannot abridge the Republicans’ right of association.

  • post

    I’m pretty sure no Cal Poly democrats are politically active enough/actually care enough to try and take over the Republican club