Oct 21, 2008

Coming soon — College democrats at LU

by Megan House

A college democrat group is currently in the process of launching on Liberty’s campus, according to the College Democrats of Liberty (CDL) Facebook group. While the students have not yet filed official group paperwork with the Student Government Association, the first meeting is tentatively planned for Oct. 27. CDL is also looking for a faculty advisor.

According to the Facebook group, the purpose of CDL is “to promote the values of: tolerance, equal opportunity for all, and a commitment to social justice. Liberty democrats are here to educate fellow peers about the Democratic Party and the principles the party stands for.”

Joel Krautter, a member of CDL leadership and campus organizer with the Obama campaign, believes having a college democrat group will promote a better political atmosphere at Liberty.

“If students have an opportunity to hear from different sides on issues, they will be better able to make a more informed decision on issues,” Krautter said, adding that as Liberty only has a College Republicans group the campus as a whole would benefit from the presence of a CDL group.

Krautter is involved with the group because of equality. “This club is not so much about taking sides on issues as (that) there needs to be choices offered to students here.”

Kathryn Layne does not declare herself a member of either party but is involved with the CDL because she feels that the party will lead America where it needs to go.

“I think that it is important to have an open dialogue about politics at Liberty,” Layne said in an e-mail. “Even though it is a traditionally conservative school, there are students on campus who see things another way. I want to help open up that dialogue in a meaningful way, instead of having a few students speak out in class occasionally. I want there to be an organized voice representing every student’s point of view.”

CDL will benefit democratic students by giving them an organized opportunity to voice their opinions, according to Layne.
“It will also benefit those who might not agree with us by giving them the opportunity to engage in a dialogue that will challenge their own positions,” she said. “Really what I want this group to accomplish is a dialogue between students that encourages critical thinking about the issues that we face as the next generation of American leaders.”

Stephen Witham, associate professor of government, has been the faculty advisor for the college republicans for years. He is a conservative, but sees some benefit to having a democratic group on campus, as long as they follow conservative principles.

“The existence of college democrats may also encourage students to give more thought to policy issues,” Witham said. “While I regard many of the liberal positions of the National Democratic Party to be unsound or unscriptural, students will be confronted by these positions and policies outside the campus and should have formed their own viewpoint.”

Witham said since most students view Liberty as a basically conservative campus, they may not sense an urgent need for participation in politics.

“The existence of college democrats may cause them to reconsider this view now that there is more sense of competition,” he said.
Ryan House, a republican, does not think having a college democrat group is a bad idea.

“It could be beneficial. Hopefully students will want to have debates between the college republicans and the college democrats,” House said.

Witham added that a CDL group demonstrates the openness to different points of view at Liberty.

“While secular schools claim that they are open to all ideas, the prevailing climate of political correctness sometimes operates to silence conservatives in the name of ‘fairness’ or ‘sensitivity,’” Witham said.

If you would like to help CDL in the application process, search for “College Democrats of Liberty” on facebook or contact Joel Krautter at jgkrautter@liberty.edu


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