The Emory College Republicans is one of two chapters that seceded from the Georgia Association of College Republicans (GACR) due to a lack of “proper support,” according to a June 8 letter to the state organization.
The letter, written by former College Republicans Presidents of Emory and Georgia State University (GSU), Christian Zimm (17C) and Akmal Rajab, respectively, cited GACR’s decision against redacting an “anti-Trump statement” as one of the reasons for secession, which could cause the Georgia Republican Party to cut ties with the GACR. The statement said that all chapters were not mandated to support President Donald J. Trump. The letter also alleged that the University of Georgia (UGA) had an unfair number of votes in the general assembly due to a falsified membership audit, which allowed UGA to “dictate the outcome of any vote.” The GSU chapter also seceded.
Zimm said Emory’s executive board voted to secede last semester. They announced the secession at the April 2017 GACR convention and walked out.
“[The GACR] leadership is very corrupt … and they don’t give us any support,” Zimm said. “We’re on one of the most liberal campuses in the entire state, and we deal with certain things that other [chapters] don’t. We no longer see any point of being part of the organization.”
GACR Chairman Wesley Ross disputed the letter’s claim that UGA College Republicans had an unfair number of votes at the convention and told the Wheel that GACR followed its constitution.
“We reached out to CRNC [College Republican National Committee], CRNC did an audit and the … national organization gave us the thumbs up that we did everything correctly,” Ross said. The Wheel could not verify the audit independently, as CRNC did not respond to multiple requests for information.
Ross said Emory’s and GSU’s departure will not have a large impact on GACR.
“We hate to lose them, but if you look at our campaign total hours for the 2016-2017 cycle, we had almost 1,000 campaign hours and Georgia State and Emory combined had 44 hours … so we still have 95 percent of the battlefront going out there,” Ross said.
Ross said that the Emory College Republicans will no longer receive funding, discounted ticket prices to conventions or an annual box from the CNCR that contains cups, ping-pong balls and other materials.
But moving forward, Zimm said, the secession will not affect the usual operations of the Emory club.
“Pretty much everything [will be] the same,” Zimm said, adding that the club’s name would remain the same.
Ross said he will continue to reach out to the chapters’ leadership to reconcile differences. GACR will consider starting new College Republicans chapters on the two campuses if reconciliation fails.
Excluding Emory and GSU, GACR has 14 chapters in the state of Georgia, according to its website.
Zimm also told the Wheel that the Emory Alumni Association recently approved alumni affinity group Emory Conservatarians, which he co-founded with Jeff Strode Sr. (78B). The group is not affiliated with any national organization.
Emory College Republicans President Julia Skyhar (18C) did not respond to request for comment. Zimm said that he is overseeing the club while she is abroad for the summer.