Young Republicans: The baby elephant in the room

Santa Monica College is a diverse community with a broad range of political philosophies to match.However, if one combines California’s “blue”-state leanings with colleges’ and universities’ tendency to slant to the left, then it should be no surprise to know that while Democrats’ and liberals’ views abound on the SMC campus, Republicans are a small presence here. But being a part of the political minority on campus doesn’t bother Michael Farr, President of the SMC Republicans, a new campus group officially started this past April. Farr says that his group is standing up for those that may not exactly share the views of SMC’s liberal masses. According to Farr, a 20-year-old political science major, his group has roughly 20 members, ages 18-21, with males making up 75 percent of the group. As a group, they meet weekly in an effort to “create a forum to discuss politics fairly,” said Farr. This was an issue he noticed while taking several political science classes at SMC. “The classes were overwhelmingly Democrat.” Farr, who calls himself “a fiscally responsible Republican at the most basic level,” also knew that he wasn’t alone in his beliefs. “I saw people cringing in their seats,” he said. “They were wanting to say something, but the conservative kids keep their mouths shut.” So Farr and his fellow Republicans are giving students an avenue to express their political views, which may not be so popular with the rest of the students and faculty on campus. And just as SMC is a uniquely diverse campus, this group is diverse in its own right, too. Farr says the members’ views run the gamut from the very far right to the socially liberal but fiscally conservative. He also states they are not a far right-leaning extremist group, and that they take a more moderate approach when it comes to social issues. In other words, he says they are not the Tea Party. One thing Farr doesn’t appreciate, though, is what many conservative students have taken as mocking of the Republican Party by some of SMC’s professors. According to him, the professors are leading students in a specific political direction. “It’s unfortunate,” he said, “but we understand it.” And while there have been rumors of the more liberal students giving Farr’s Republican group a hard time and harassing them for their political affiliation, Farr hasn’t experienced any of it personally, although he acknowledges that some of the others members may not have been so lucky. With an election on the way, this group of SMC’s political outliers will certainly step up their efforts to become more of a voice on campus. They hope to kick-start some educated, politically driven discussion among the students. Just don’t be shocked when you see them on Club Row. According to Farr, “we used to get the craziest looks from people when we were out there.”