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College Republicans

Former President of UT College Republicans Lied About Being a Student

by: Ben Sherman

Fri May 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM CDT

On November 16th of last year, University of Texas College Republicans President Lauren Pierce tweeted about how President Obama deserves to be killed: "Y'all as tempting as it may be, don't shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had! #2012."

In doing so, she destroyed her own reputation, deeply injured that of the College Republicans, and shamed the university on the national stage. Now, we learn that there's a big cherry on top of Pierce's revolting cake: she was lying about being a UT student while she was president.

The Daily Texan reports that Pierce was not enrolled at UT last semester, and actively lied about her enrollment status to other students. Cesar Villarreal, the organization's former public relations director, told the newspaper that Pierce would discuss the classes she was in, the professors she had and what was going on in her life academically. The College Republicans discovered that Pierce was lying about her academic status when she was barred from registering the group for an event space on campus. Pierce has since had to leave the group.

Cassie Wright, Pierce's successor as president, gave an awful analysis of the implications of this discovery for Pierce's tweet: "It goes to show how much pressure she was under as a person," Wright said. So, Pierce was under pressure because she was lying to everyone about her academic status and as a result we should forgive her public racism? Nice try, Cassie. Actually, awful try. Pierce's decision to lie on a massive scale does not make her violent rhetoric against the president any less abhorrent, or lessen its impact. The public humiliation brought upon the College Republicans by Pierce is irrevocable, and was soon deepened by Wright's own vile excretion: "My president is black. He smokes a lot of crack. Holla. #2012 #Obama".

Sadly, it's no surprise at all that Pierce is a liar - or that Wright would continue to defend her predecessor months after the incident. The Republican Party is composed of bald-faced liars, from their nominee to their leaders on one of America's largest college campuses. Aside from lies, violent rhetoric is matched only by racist rhetoric as cornerstones of the GOP's anti-Obama playbook. The College Republicans cover the whole spectrum.

For shame.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Burnt Orange Report Inspires UTexas Meme

by: Ben Sherman

Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:34 AM CST

This week, the UT community started posting thousands of Forty Acres-specific memes to the new UTexas Memes Facebook page.

The student-generated memes poke fun at everything from bikers on campus to Texas A&M.

One of the most popular memes takes the biggest joke on campus as its subject: the College Republicans.

Well done.

In December, Burnt Orange Report broke the national news story about Cassie Wright, the second UT College Republican president in a month to post something terribly offensive and racist on Twitter.

We're happy to see UT students have taken note of the shame brought upon their school by the College Republicans...and aren't happy about it.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

UT College Republicans President Responds With More Racism

by: Ben Sherman

Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 08:27 AM CST

On Monday, Burnt Orange Report broke the story about UT College Republicans President Cassie Wright's racist tweet:

There are two components of Wright's statement that make it so harmful to our political dialogue.

First, Wright's statement is deeply racist. Her chosen language implies that because President Obama is black, he uses crack cocaine, a drug historically associated with impoverished African-Americans. She then celebrates her statement with "Holla," a term that derives from African-American slang.

Second, Wright degrades the president with a blasphemous claim that he "snorts a lot of crack." Libel like this precludes any useful political dialogue because it is both abhorrent and false. Wright is aiming to assassinate President Obama's character by any means necessary, not to exchange genuine political views.

Yesterday, Wright took proud credit for the comment, which she has kept posted on her Twitter account.

On Facebook, Wright wrote this:

The rest of the Facebook thread is here.

Wright is arguing that because her tweet references a song celebrating the election of the first African-American president, it's not racist. Wright argues that she's only pointing out the irony of a song celebrating the character of a former "drug user." In Wright's view, President Obama is not to be defined by his service to our country or by political views, but by his admission that he used some drugs on occasion during his early twenties.

That's an abysmal attempt to defend her statement. Once more, Wright is preventing constructive dialogue by dehumanizing the president, this time through defining him only as a former "drug user."

The racial overtones of this characterization are clear, just as they were in the original statement. This is the same type of racially infused rhetoric that Wright's fellow Republicans use when they challenge President Obama's birth certificate in the face of all evidence and imply he didn't earn admission into Harvard.

Doubling down on her comments via Facebook was only the first step Wright took to stand by her statement.

Yesterday, after a period of Twitter silence, Wright started retweeting a handful of angry, threatening comments from African-American males about her statement. With these isolated comments, Wright crafted an image of herself as the victim of violent African-American men out to hurt her.

"Seems these people have a lot of opinions. But I don't understand why @HuffingtonPost isn't reporting...?" Wright tweeted afterwards.

Wright's visual and rhetorical characterization of "these people" as the violent offenders and herself as a victim harks back to the archetypal racist image of black men's aggression against white women. In falsely stereotyping the response to her comment, Wright is neglectfully ignoring the numerous African-American publications that published rebukes of her statement.

And to answer Wright's question - the story here is not about random Twitter users, it is about the president of the University of Texas College Republicans making a clearly racist statement and proudly standing by it.

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 352 words in story)

New President of UT College Republicans Just as Awful as the Last One

by: Ben Sherman

Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 02:43 PM CST

A month ago, UT College Republicans president Lauren Pierce tweeted her sympathy for those who want to assassinate President Obama:

"Y'all as tempting as it may be, don't shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had! #2012."

Pierce was forced to resign in disgrace. Not the disgrace of her fellow College Republicans, however, who seem to have found a comparable replacement in former VP Cassie Wright.

A month ago, Wright said this to ABC News about the Pierce scandal:

"Insofar as she's a representative [of the College Republicans], maybe it shouldn't be said, but she's made a positive statement in a way. I don't really see anything wrong with it. It's just a personal comment, not representative of any group. Just freedom of speech, you know?"

Pierce made a "positive statement"? Wright doesn't "really see anything wrong with" such violent, hateful rhetoric against the President of the United States? With publicly stating that the only reason to keep our president alive is so he can "go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had"?

Standing by Pierce's statement was a terrible start to Wright's presidency.

But now Wright has started her own legacy of hateful vitriol.

On Facebook recently, Wright wrote that it was a "messed up world" because she was studying in the library while "the Asian guy next to me is watching America's Next Top Model episodes on his laptop".

When a commenter asked what being Asian had to with it, Wright responded:

"Because Asians study a lot...If you're offended by my use of a stereotype then gtfo [get the f*** out]."

President Wright's dedication to stereotypes about Asians is reminiscent of the UCLA student who made a video mocking Asians in the library. Stereotypes, whether negative or positive, are all negative because they dehumanize an entire group of human beings.

No one, let alone the president of the College Republicans at one of America's largest and most prestigious universities, is justified in casually spreading this type of racial discrimination.

Yesterday, Wright did much more wrong, tweeting this:

In less than 140 characters, Wright brought shame upon her club, her university, and herself. This may be news to President Wright, but crack cocaine use is not limited to one race. Nor is this the year 1811, when such hate speech might be accepted in American political dialogue.

Clearly, Wright did not learn anything from the scandal that brought down former president Pierce. Disgusting, hateful beliefs have been legitimized in the Republican Party so completely that the next generation of Republican leaders are barely distinguishable from the current crop of hate mongers.

And for those who don't believe such rhetoric finds the ears of people willing to do violence, see this list of all the right wing violence inspired by such hate speech.

Thus far, Wright has not apologized for her tweet, nor have any College Republicans denounced the statement.

This would be the time to call for Wright's resignation if her resignation would make any difference at the College Republicans.

But, clearly, it won't. For now, all we can do is endure and publicly condemn this emblematic parade of hate.

Update 5:26 p.m. Despite widespread calls to do so, former UT College Republicans President Lauren Pierce did not resign from office. On December 1st, the College Republicans held elections and voted current president Cassie Wright into office. Amazingly and disappointingly, Pierce still serves as secretary of the statewide Texas College Republicans.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Hate, Violence and (Young) Republicans

by: Ben Sherman

Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM CST

Finance Intern for David Dewhurst's campaign for Senate. President of the University of Texas College Republicans. Social Media and Outreach Intern for Americans for Prosperity.

Lauren Pierce has held each of these coveted positions for a young Republican. Her LinkedIn profile is here.

The fact that a successful young Republican believes that violent rhetoric against the president is acceptable (remember, she didn't back down from her statement), is completely unacceptable.

When Lt. Gov. Dewhurst was asked Thursday whether Pierce is still an intern on his campaign, he responded, "I don't think so."

Dewhurst doesn't "think so"? He hasn't taken executive action to remove her from his campaign?

Dewhurst then mentioned the importance of respecting the office of the president. This type of lip service is not enough, because it's not followed through with action. If Republicans really believed the office of president deserved respect, they wouldn't be routinely inciting violence through their hate-filled descriptions of President Obama.

Some recent examples of right-wing violence: the assassination of three Pittsburgh police officers by an Obama-fearing gun nut, the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Kansas, and the murder of a Holocaust Memorial guard by a neo-Nazi who feared one-world government.

Here's a complete rundown of all the violence that has been inspired by Republicans and right-wing commentators.

It's clear that un-American rhetoric against the president has touched the next generation of Republican leaders.

Pierce was removed yesterday from her capacity as College Republicans president. The public relations director for the Texas College Republicans, John Chapman, followed up a condemnation of Pierce's statement with this:

"This is going to make people sit back and think, 'Hey, I need to think before I post this. What you say on Twitter is very public and can reflect on yourself and the organization you represent."

Clearly, Ms. Pierce does not stand alone among her fellow young Republicans in her unwillingness to fundamentally renounce her statement. Chapman, just like Pierce and vice-president Wright, has a clear opinion about legitimizing presidential assassination: "It's okay up until the point that it hurts our image."

Bad news for them: that vile, un-American view does more damage than anything else. As it should.

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

UDEMS Condemn UT Republican Prez "Joke" About Obama Assassination

by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 00:44 PM CST

Yesterday, University of Texas College Republicans embarrassed the whole Longhorn community with a "joke" on Twitter stating, "Y'all as tempting as it may be, don't shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had! #2012." Yesterday Ben Sherman editorialized here on BOR about what a shameful statement that was for Pierce to make. Today, the University Democrats issued a statement to Burnt Orange Report condemning the statement by Pierce:

"It doesn't matter whether or not you agree with the President, saying anything related to shooting the President is tasteless, even if it was meant to be a joke. Although it was from her personal Twitter account, she is a leader at UT and in turn, it reflects negatively on our school. It's important to watch what you say on social media sites like Twitter because it is such a public arena where a 140-character statement carries a huge weight. As a leader, she has a duty to be careful with her statements because it not only reflects badly on her but those associated with her as well. She did apologize on Twitter, but that statement shouldn't have been made in the first place." -- Janette Martinez, UDEMS President

"For a UT student to joke about killing the president being 'tempting', is nothing short of disgraceful. What one individual might see as a joke, another may take as a challenge. Regardless of our politics, we, as Texans, have a responsibility to condemn these threats of violence. It is important to stress that our voices in this country are heard through the ballot and not the bullet." -- Cameron Miculka, UDEMS Vice President

"An attempted assassination of any citizen of the United States is not a joking matter--but when it is the president of the United States, an attempted assassination is not only meant to take the life of a person, but also to undo the will of the nation that elected him. The only right response for an American when they hear about an assassination attempt on the president is to condemn it, and then to thank God that it failed." -- Holly Heinrich, UDEMS PR Director

The statement of the UDEMS -- and, I would imagine, most of the UT undergraduate body -- shows that assassination jokes aren't what the University of Texas stands for. It's shameful that Pierce would bring such national embarrassment to UT. As the news story has been picked up around the world, it's sad to think of people confirming the negative stereotypes of our state that were perpetuated by George W. Bush and other Texas Republicans.

Pierce's "joke" is a disgusting comment at any time. Coming just days after the inspiring and painful 20/20 interview that aired with Rep. Gabby Giffords -- detailing her long, difficult recovery from a brain injury she received when a constituent shot her in the head at point-blank range -- the statement shows further how ignorant Pierce is to even joke about such violence. Sadly, this isn't the first example of such callous behavior from the UT College Republicans President, whose Facebook page for her Student Government campaign included a pledge to "kill the drag rats," i.e. the homeless kids who populate Guadalupe. Rhetoric like that of Pierce's -- and the cavalier attitude she displays towards human life -- is what leads to unhinged individuals bringing guns to Congressional district visits, wounding dozens, and killing their fellow citizens.

Pierce has embarrassed her campus, her organization, and her family. These are not UT values. These should not be Republican values, either. I am glad to see the University Democrats speak out against Pierce's wink-nudge comments that utterly fail to condemn actual political violence, and encourage other student and UT groups to do likewise.

Update, 1:57 p.m.: Apparently Pierce has been receiving death threats, which is pretty sick. That's only going to further our culture of violence. This young student obviously made a huge mistake and should seek help regarding her seeming history of violent rhetoric and outbursts on social media. However, death threats (or threats of violence) of any kind are never OK.

UDEMS President Janette Martinez released the following statement condemning these death threats:

"Although Lauren's comments were inappropriate, we do not believe that threats to her well-being were the right response. Threats of violence of any kind have no place in political dialogue, and University Democrats will move forward and continue to work for the issues most pertinent to students and progressive values, and most importantly, to create an environment that fosters fair, honest, and open political dialogue."
Discuss :: (5 Comments)

UT College Republicans President: Killing President Obama "Tempting"

by: Ben Sherman

Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 06:42 PM CST

Around noon today, the Secret Service arrested a man they believe fired at the White House with a shotgun last Friday. A round was found in a White House window.

Less than two hours after today's arrest, Lauren Pierce, the president of the College Republicans at the University of Texas, embarrassed herself and her university with one tweet:

"Y'all as tempting as it may be, don't shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had! #2012."

Pierce told ABC News that the comment was a "joke" and that the "whole [shooting incident] was stupid." Giggling, she said that an attempted assassination would "only make the situation worse."

Joking about assassinating the president is not funny - it's extremely dangerous. But there was no joke implied by Pierce.

We live in a culture of right-wing violence. They have overwhelmed the Secret Service with an unprecedented number of death threats against the president. The number of right-wing militia groups has skyrocketed by 250 percent since President Obama took office.

"Insofar as she's a representative [of the College Republicans], maybe it shouldn't be said, but she's made a positive statement in a way, " said Cassie Wright, the group's vice president.

"I don't really see anything wrong with it," Wright added. "It's just a personal comment, not representative of any group. Just freedom of speech, you know?"

Wright, you're wrong, but you're not the only one.

The right-wing message is "you're with us or you deserve to die." This is obvious in the rhetoric of any Republican or right-wing commentator: those that oppose their agenda are threats to the sovereignty of the United States.

For a notable segment of the right-wing population, this makes threats against the president justified and giggle-inducing.

Pierce implied that President Obama's life is only worth sparing because it would hurt the Republican cause if he were assassinated.

We all know, on a deeply human level, what's so wrong there.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Tuition Relief and the University of Texas Student Body

by: Michael Hurta

Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 00:48 AM CST

Disclaimer: I am an active member of the University Democrats, but I do not currently hold any office or official responsibilities within the organization.

The University Democrats' PR Man, Andy Jones, can be attributed to a fine list of achievements when it comes to media publications that have mentioned UDems under his guidance.  But I'm not sure of Harvey Kronberg has mentioned the activist club in his "Daily Buzz," which provides headlines and articles that Texas political observers could use as a barometer on some of the movements within the higher circles of this state's government.  

So when a group spearheaded by University Democrat and College Republican members got the notice of Harvery Kronberg, I certainly noticed, too.


UT's University Democrats and Campus Republicans take part in rare coordinated effort to scale back tuition deregulation.

You can expect a bit of glasnost in the air Wednesday night at the University of Texas, where young Democrats and Republicans will join hands over tuition deregulation, which has doubled the cost of classes at UT in the last four years.

UT's University Democrats and Campus Republicans have joined together to launch a campaign to rein in tuition costs. Tuition Relief Now! has a logo, a Facebook page and an auditorium on the UT campus on Wednesday night to address the issue.

Spokesman Andy Jones of the University Democrats, toiling well into the early hours of Monday morning to promote the event, was willing to answer the phone at midnight last night, around the time a promotional e-mail hit hundreds of in-boxes around Austin. Jones said the effort is both widespread and universal.

The auditorium he speaks of is GAR 0.102, the regular meeting place for the University Democrats, which will be meeting at the club's regular time, Wednesday night at 8 pm.  Senator Hinojosa and Senator Dan Patrick will be available as guest speakers.  Hinojosa is the principal author for SB 105, one of the multiple tuition relief bills, and Patrick is a co-author.  

I was confused to why Patrick, arguably the most radically conservative member in the legislature, was chosen as a guest speaker.  I spoke extensively with both Andy Jones and UDems President Jimmy Talarico on the subject, and I could not get an answer beyond the fact that Patrick co-authors one of the acceptable tuition relief bills.  Jones mentioned that despite his own concern about Patrick's staunch conservatism, "I'm hopeful that partisan politics can be put aside."  All-in-all, I would have hoped that the University Democrats and their temporary-partners with the College Republicans could have picked a more tenured and respected Republican, such as Senator Harris, a Senate member since 1991 and also an SB 105 sponsor.

At any rate, the meeting tomorrow should be interesting.  If you cannot make it, I will be twittering the meeting @MJJHurta, and I will hopefully get a write-up posted after the meeting.  

Thankfully, it seems that most students at UT do have their wits together.  The student body realizes that it is better for the legislature, accountable to them and their parents, to control tuition than the Board of Directors.  Unfortunately, some in Student Government do not feel that way.  Tuition Regulation legislation was proposed at the SG meeting earlier Tuesday, and the reaction among the members were mixed.  In general, many of those in what one member called the "SG Establishment" were for a continuation of DEREGULATION.  Student body president Keshav Rajagopalan even used executive privilege to give a long speech against regulation.  I hope none of these people are running for another SG election, because Student Government, as oddly corrupt as it may be, is still a Democratic body.  I predict that no SG member will win reelection if he or she votes, officially representing UT students, against tuition regulation.

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

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