In preparation for the upcoming elections, The Carolinian is starting a series on the political groups at UNC-Greensboro. This week, the focus will be on UNCG’s College Democrats.
Within the past year, the College Democrats have been focusing on local initiatives such as Senate Bill 36 and matters regarding the UNC system. Last year, the group made t-shirts titled ‘SB 36’ to spread awareness about the bill’s intent to redistrict Greensboro and, in turn, reduce the size of City Council from nine members to seven. The bill generated controversy due to the fact that it passed without going to the N.C. House for approval.
The group also focused on student issues. They sought clarification on matters involving the UNC system such as why Tom Ross was asked to step down. The group also had questions regarding the raising of tuition, where this money is going and why they felt like there was not enough student representation in the Board of Governors (BOG).
“I also think it’s interesting that the Board of Governors is one of the few institutions in the state government that doesn’t go checked,” Aron Johnson, vice president, said.
The group emphasized that their primary focus was events centered around countering voter apathy, such as Walk to the Polls. Last year, the group had a turnout of about 60 attendees, according to communications director, Jonathon Yawn. The group’s focus before the primary elections is to make sure students know their correct voting location and are registered, regardless of their political backgrounds.
“A big thing about it is… getting people registered,” Yawn said. “We made sure it was a non-partisan event.”
Bridget Garzo, president, agreed saying, “Ultimately we want people to just vote. I don’t care if you’re Republican, if you’re Independant, if you’re a Democrat. I want you to use the right that most people don’t get.”
The group is looking forward to attending rallies such as the Million Student March, which advocates for things such as raising the minimum wage to $15 and tuition-free college for all students.
The group will also be holding tabling events where members hand out candidate literature informing students about the Democratic nominees. Catherine Detwiller, fundraising chair, agreed with the purpose of tabling, saying that students not knowing or caring enough was a major problem.
When asked if there were any candidates that the group was leaning toward, officers made it clear that the organization was not officially allowed to endorse any specific candidate.
”If there’s more than one in the particular party…we can’t endorse Hillary. We can’t endorse O’Malley. We can’t endorse any of them,” Garzo said.
This policy is in place to prevent the students from using their officer positions to influence voters.