While outnumbered by the sheer volume of NYU’s left wing clubs, the NYU College Republicans nonetheless boast an active and influential presence on campus. This year the club’s leadership includes President Elena Hatib and Vice President Xavier Malaussena.
Malaussena, a CAS senior born in Britain, holds dual French and American citizenship. The senior filled the role of vice president following a vacancy after the first half of his junior year and was re-elected this year.
This year the club aims to grow membership and increase the quality of its speakers, Malaussena said. The club aims to feature weekly conservative speakers.
Last week the club held its first event with Republican commentator Jo Ann Poly Calvo. Poly Calvo worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign on voter and minority outreach, according to an email sent by Hatib.
Poly Calvo spoke to over 50 people on the topic of immigration. She focused her discussion on the recent condemnation and subsequent flip on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Poly Calvo said she did not think the executive action put in place by former President Barack Obama was a permanent solution for those it intended to protect. The former Trump aide described DACA as a “bandaid.”
Poly Calvo argued that the DACA legislation forces recipients to pay the same taxes as citizens without granting these individual equal rights. When asked how the future of Dreamers should be decided, Poly Calvo advised legislation.
“Punt it to Congress,” Poly Calvo said.
When asked by WSN whether she had confidence in Congress’ ability to enact this reform, Poly Calvo admitted that she did not.
During her question and answer segment, NYUCR members voiced clear discomfort with Trump on what many members see as unfulfilled campaign promises.
“I think we had a lot of people who were frustrated and felt that Trump wasn’t doing what he said he was going to do,” Malaussena said. “The vice president went on to say however that vocal disagreement does not have to be negative.”
“The fact that the discussion got a little combative at times is not necessarily a bad thing,” Malaussena said.
The club has speakers lined up for the next three weeks; upcoming speakers include writer Thomas Miller of the American Enterprise Institute, who will speak about health care, and journalist Chadwick Moore.
A Gallatin senior who regularly attends the College Republican meetings spoke to WSN on the condition of anonymity because he says he fears social ostracization for his political beliefs in a school with a strong liberal slant.
The senior says he mainly supports Trump’s policies on immigration and infrastructure but feels that Trump is moving away from his initial campaign plans.
As part of a multi-group effort to reach across the aisle and promote open discussion, the NYUCR and NYU College Democrats will hold a joint debate this Thursday in Kimmel room 907 from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The clubs will discuss hurricane relief funding and climate change. The event is open to the public and Malaussena encourages people to attend regardless of their political affiliation.
For those who may have an interest in the NYUCR but are worried about negative reactions, Malaussena jokingly said, “Come to the club, we are a safe space.”
The College Republicans meet every week at 7 p.m. on the 8th floor of Kimmel.
Email Mack DeGeurin at [email protected].