The Next Generation

Via my friend Steve Benen, a story on the demise of the Republican Party’s UVM chapter:

When the club invited Gingrich to speak at Ira Allen Chapel on Oct. 6, 2005, he settled for an undisclosed honorarium that was apparently higher than the College Republicans could afford. They took out a $7,000 loan from the Student Government Association to help pay the bill, but more than a year later, when the loan still wasn’t fully repaid after several ultimatums, the Student Government Association decertified them.

Three dots

In 2005-06, the College Republicans budgeted $25,000 for speakers, according to Maggie Doran, who works in the Student Government Association’s front office. Gingrich, who rose to national prominence in Congress during the 1990s, was the only speaker the club brought in during that academic year. The UVM President’s Office contributed $2,000 toward Gingrich’s fee, as did the Student Life Office. The sum of all those funds, plus the $7,000 from the loan, comes to $38,000.

Three dots

Gingrich was asked Monday, via e-mail, if he realized that his appearance in Burlington had effectively led to the decommissioning of the UVM Republican club. A reply came from Joe DeSantis, communications director of Gingrich Communications: “We have no comment.”

Heather Baldyga, the most recent president of the Republican club, recalled that for the Gingrich event, the admission fee was $5 for students and more for those who occupied reserved seats toward the front. Those receipts brought in less than anticipated, she said, although the event, as described in a Burlington Free Press article, was well-attended.

Three dots

UVM has more than 130 “recognized” clubs. They receive money from the pooled student activity fees: $71 per semester for each of about 8,800 undergraduates this year amounts to about $1.2 million.

Baldyga said the Republicans had about 200 names on their online list serve.”

OK. Now the story in abbreviated form… They decided they wanted to give money to a prominent believer in their philosophy. What money? Well, the bulk of it was money they got from pooled student activities fees – fees all students on campus pay. (Isn’t this something members of the club would usually refer to as socialism?) They thought they could cover the rest, but their plan to raise revenue was completely unrealistic and thus failed miserably. And when faced with their failure, instead of making good (a $7,000 loan divided by 200 members comes to $35 a piece), they decided to simply walking away, leaving everyone else to hold the bag. I think every one of these 200 members has a bright and shining future ahead of them with the big boys.

Steve Benen has more.