School paper smears Columbia Republicans as 'far-right'

Columbia University’s student newspaper recently blasted the school’s College Republicans chapter as “far-right” for inviting controversial speakers to campus.

In an article for The Columbia Spectator last week, student Kate Huangpu cites the group’s invitation of Mike Cernovich as indicative of its “far-right” ideology, suggesting that “moderate conservatives will be alienated” by such speakers.

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Notably, Huangpu only mentions the plan to host Mike Cernovich to justify her portrayal of the club, omitting several other upcoming speakers with more-moderate political affiliations.

CR President Ari Boosalis told Campus Reform that while the group is indeed hosting Cernovich in October, it also plans to host six other speakers this semester alone, including commentator Dennis Prager, Columbia Professor Mark Lilla, English Defense League founder Tommy Robinson, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, and lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Only Cernovich and Robinson could reasonably be considered far-right, Boosalis argued, adding that the club’s previous guest speakers, such as critic Armond White and private military company founder Eeben Barlow, cannot be considered far-right in any serious way.

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Nonetheless, Huangpu focused on the club’s invitation of Cernovich, echoing the criticisms she made in another recent article condemning the club for inviting “white nationalist figures” to speak on campus—characterizations that Boosalis adamantly rejected.

“It's not true. If you look at the whole speaker list, we're hosting a wide variety of speakers. They all fall into different types of conservatism,” he explained, adding that the club’s “goal is to be very inclusive” and not “alienate any of our members.”

Notably, the club refrains from taking public political positions, and hosted speakers both supportive and critical of the Trump presidency—Dinesh D’Souza and Charles Murray, respectively—during the spring semester.

The upcoming roster of speakers embodies this commitment, Boosalis said, noting that "we agree with some of the speakers on some views, but none of us agree with everything.”

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“We don't find it productive to take positions, I think it turns a lot of people off,” he added.

Campus Reform reached out to both The Spectator and Huangpu, but did not receive responses from either.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen