CSU conservative, libertarian groups host meeting with student government campaigns

Haley Candelario

Editor’s Note: CJ Ash is an opinion columnist for the Rocky Mountain Collegian. Allec Brust formerly was the opinion editor for the Rocky Mountain Collegian. 

Students from Turning Point USA, Young Americans for Liberty, the Conservative Interest Group, the the International Conservative Coalition and College Republicans discuss candidates for the presidential and Speaker of the Senate elections for the Associated Students of Colorado State University. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

Campus conservatives, libertarians and moderates met Tuesday night for an informal meeting with several candidates running for president and Speaker of the Senate for the Associated Students of Colorado State University to decide who to vote for, but not all of the candidates were in attendance.

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Presidential candidate Jacob Epperson and his running mate Carter Hill, presidential candidate Tristan Syron and his running mate Kevin Sullivan, presidential candidate Allec Brust and Speaker of the Senate candidate Ben Amundson pitched their campaign platforms to and answered questions from members of CSU’s Turning Point USA chapter, Young Americans for Liberty, the Conservative Interest Group, the International Conservative Coalition and College Republicans.

Presidential candidate Liam Aubrey and his running mate Lynsie Roper were not in attendance of the meeting, and Speaker of the Senate candidate Merall Sherif was also not in attendance.

Sherif said she was unaware of the meeting, but she also did not approach any of the organizations in attendance about speaking with them. Aubrey said he heard about the meeting through people he knows who are still a part of the student groups in attendance, but he and running mate Lynsie Roper were not invited to speak.

CJ Ash, the chairman of the Conservative Interest Group, said all of the campaigns who attended the meeting were invited to speak at the meeting, but Aubrey’s campaign was not invited to the event after he renounced his affiliation with TPUSA.

Those in attendance who were not affiliated with any of the organizations were asked to leave the meeting since individual members openly discussed for whom they wanted to vote.

“Since individual members in this room were talking about which candidates they preferred, we didn’t want any chance of individual names getting out (of) endorsing any candidates that could result in backlash,” said Sierra Wolfe, the digital media coordinator of TPUSA. “We definitely did not even really talk about … who we were voting for.”

The group of students decided not to vote for the same candidate, and instead opted to vote for the campaign they most preferred, Wolfe said.

All of the campaigns who attended the event discussed their views on the group Students Against White Supremacy, who directly accused TPUSA of white supremacist rhetoric during the CSUnite event and who distributed flyers with the Intersectional Activism Network of a Ku Klux Klan-esque figure with the TPUSA logo on campus.

Syron said he agreed with SAWS’ views since they want to create a campus that is safe for students affected by bias-motivated incidents, but he disagrees with the group equating Nazism to candidates or student organizations since it delegitimizes the harm Nazis have done.

“We’re not very involved politically, but since I’ve met a lot of people like Ben (Amundson) … (TPUSA) is a conservative group, and there’s nothing wrong with being conservatives,” Syron said. “I don’t think we should just throw that word (Nazi) around like it’s willy-nilly because it is a big deal.”

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Epperson said he and Hill never overlook acts of white supremacy, but they also will not disregard conservative students’ voices.

“In no way does the Epperson-Hill campaign ever condone white supremacy or bias-discrimination on this campus, but we also feel that conservatism means we are not racists, bigots, sexists or other terms they’ve coined us as,” Epperson said. “In order to have a campus that is truly progressive, we must include everyone in that conversation.”

Brust said she does not agree with white supremacy, but also does not agree with the mentality that all conservatives are racist.

“I in no way condone white supremacy … but one thing that I will say is that we’ve got to stop this thing that I call racist catcalling, which is catcalling organizations and calling them racist under the guise of being conservatives,” Brust said. “I have many friends who are people of color, who are conservative, and it’s just a terrible thing to see.”

Collegian News Director Haley Candelario can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.