by Christopher Cumella
Members of the Purchase Right gathered for their weekly meeting on the third floor of Fort Awesome. The club's president, Andrew Valenza addressed the few students present.
"This campus isn’t the most tolerant of certain views,” Valenza said. “We wanted to provide a platform to people to express their political views freely.”
The Purchase Right is a small independent club founded in February 2018, separate from the Purchase Student Government Association, that intends to provide a space for Republican students at Purchase, long a tiny minority, to voice their political opinions freely.
“We all started this club because we wanted to give a platform to people like us, who don’t have the most stereotypical Purchase view,” said Rojas. “We think a lot more conservative than most people here and used that as a means to connect."
The Purchase Right meets every week to discuss various topics from what it means to be a Republican, to what those in the club can do to help their cause, to events happening on and off campus designed to help this organization keep itself maintained.
Members of the club say that all political views are welcome and that they are open to any form of discussion. “If someone new comes in we’ll get to know them and see where their standing is, so they feel comfortable and welcomed with us,” said Valenza. “Then we go through the news to find a topic of discussion for the day.”
Since the club receives no funding from the school, they had to turn to outside sources eventually turning to the New York Federation of College Republicans (NYFCR). NYFCR gives the Purchase Right a dollar for every registered Republican on campus.
Members of the club claim Purchase is a difficult place to hold conservative views. “I’ve already had cases where they were judging me for my own views because I don’t think the same way,” said Rojas. “Because I’m not in favor for all the social justice that doesn’t impact their world as it does mine.”
Others in the group have similar experiences with fellow peers on campus. “I actually have a teacher who dedicates certain parts of the lesson to attacking conservatives,” explains Emily Rybkiewicz. “and he gets the class to attack those views too.”
Members of the Purchase Right say they have been typecast by fellow peers based on various factors. “I’m bisexual,” says Matthew Seel. “So, I always have people spring something like 'Oh because you’re bi, you have to have left-leaning views.'”
In terms of the future for the Purchase Right, Valenza has stated that he, himself, does not see a future of leading the club, but rather hopes to find someone else to take his place as president. “My personal goal is to find someone more politically active than me leading it,” said Valenza. “I don’t see myself in the future with any political role, I just like to talk about it.”
Those who are still in the club today express hopes that they can feel more accepted by Purchase in general. “I wish [Purchase] could be sincerer with the 'Think Wide Open' slogan,” said Victor Elera. “It’s very biased towards left-leaning topics. It should be accepting towards all views.”