College Republicans Shut Down

The College Republicans club was derecognized by the Student Government Association (SGA) on Tuesday, after failing to repay year old debts.

The group owed $6,548 from a $7,000 loan they took out in Oct. 2005. The loan was initially taken out in order to pay Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to speak at UVM.

When the club failed to pay at the first deadline in Nov. 2005, their account was frozen and they were reminded of the consequences if they were unable to pay. The club proceeded to ask for two more separate deadline extensions, and was given one in Dec. and one in Feb.

According to the College Republicans president, senior Heather Baldyga, the club had been warned twice of a possible derecognition should they fail to repay their loan.

Now that the club has been derecognized SGA will repossess their budget, which will cover the debt the College Republicans owe, according to senior Jessica Banks, SGA treasurer.

If the club is rerecognized it will be on their own terms, and financially “they’ll be back at ground zero,” said Banks. They will be treated like any other new club.

College Republicans expected the profits from Newt Gingrich’s presentation to help cover the loan, but there was a smaller turn out than they had expected.

“We were not able to pay back SGA because there was little or no effort to fundraise in the past few semesters. It is also difficult to fundraise for a Republican organization around here, because we don’t have many fans in this area,” Baldyga said.

The derecognition did not come as a big surprise to Baldyga. “I was aware that we would more than likely be derecognized some point during the semester,” she said.

The club is one of the first in recent years to be derecognized, Banks said.

“It is upsetting because alumni worked very hard to get this club started less than six years ago, and now it no longer exists due to a lack of funds. It is a shame that we were not able to repay the debt,” Baldyga said.

Although Banks stated in the SGA meeting on Tuesday evening that they were “hesitant to derecognize” a club, a vast majority of the student senators voted in favor of the derecognition.

“The most upsetting thing is that now there is less political diversity on campus. The conservatives of the UVM community have nowhere to go now to discuss their concerns,” Baldyga said.