Years of embracing the politics of campus divisiveness have come due. The needless disruptions sparked by the former College Republicans chapter of the University of Washington finally cost the club its official status. Its former members should find the maturity to learn from their new circumstances.
The student politicos’ energy spent on inviting right-wing provocateurs onto campus, hosting an “affirmative action bake sale” and posting an incessant stream of exclusionary insults to social media led to their organization losing recognition.
The College Republican National Committee, which is no shrinking violet in the realm of political rhetoric, showed that enough is eventually enough in a letter posted to Facebook in October. The national group lambasted the UW College Republicans’ “hurtful and inappropriate conduct” and asked university officials to give its organizational recognition to a different Republican student group.
Washington’s college campuses benefit from nurturing an environment that teaches fired-up young minds how to join political debates respectfully. The scorched-earth gamesmanship and attention-baiting of the former UW College Republicans group sullied their party’s name and bothered even politically neutral fellow students.
The campus deserves better standard-bearers for conservative viewpoints. College politics done right can be a microcosm of American political diversity that nurtures the skills of healthy debate and respectful listening. Danger comes when it goes off the rails. UW’s erstwhile College Republicans are young enough to have long political lives ahead of them. This intemperate phase, and its bad end, should become a useful lesson to learn from.