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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

It’s “your” world:

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By: Sheridan Kate Murray, Staff Writer

On Wofford’s online list of student organizations, Campus Democrats is listed as a special interest club on campus. However, while the club is technically still chartered, it has not been populated with active members for some time. When asked for their opinion on the lack of Democrat involvement and representation on campus, students expressed disappointment in a lack of involvement and a general feeling that their voices aren’t heard on campus.

Many students sought out College Democrats when coming to Wofford, only to find that such a club didn’t actually exist. “I went to the interest fair my freshman year and saw a table for College Democrats with no sign. There was just a table with a piece of notebook paper that had one signature on it,” says Ann Casey Hughes ’17. “I signed my name and never got an email.”

Caroline Triani ‘19 states that she came to college expecting bipartisan discussions about politics and an active College Democrats club, and has personally found neither at Wofford. “College Democrats seems to be totally inactive,” she says. “It’s pretty disappointing. I always had this idea of college being this place where there’d be bipartisan discussion about the country we are to inherit, but I have just not had that experience on this campus.”

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While Democrats have tried in the past to form clubs on campus, these efforts have ultimately been thwarted by what Joe James ‘15 identifies as “the apolitical aspects of campus culture and the stigma behind any sort of political conversation [at Wofford].” James and Tucker Lawson ’15 attempted to start one such group when they were freshmen, and ultimately experienced little success.

“Wofford’s size is a problem in terms of facilitating political discussion,” explains James. “College campuses are usually great places for democrats, but because [Wofford] is so small it takes a really committed group to get people out to do stuff that is political. While many faculty members identify as liberal, they are understandably committed more to facilitating conversation than they are to running a Democrat group.”

Peyton Proffitt ‘15 took part in leading and facilitating a Wofford for Bernie group when she was on campus last year, and says that while it started out strong, students ultimately stopped actively gathering to discuss their views. “Wofford for Bernie was the closest thing to a College Democrats chapter while I was on campus. When we all started meeting up, Democrats at Wofford were really excited to have a place where they could have substantive political discussions and people to watch debates with,” she says. “Wofford for Bernie meet ups also saw Hillary supporters because of the lack of a College Democrats group on campus.”

According to Proffitt, the club started to lose steam as students feared backlash on campus and beyond due to their views. “It was hard to mobilize Wofford for Bernie folks to actually volunteer for the party out of fear of being associated with the party,” she says. “I explicitly remember one girl who couldn’t volunteer or be in posts because she said her family would disown her.”

Confusion over the lack of active Democrat organizations on campus is not reserved just for students, it seems. When asked about the lack of representation for other political ideologies on campus, President Nayef Samhat said that he, too, has wondered why these clubs are not active on campus. “Students shape the culture of the campus. Yours is the generation that will nurture societal change. I am fully supportive of students in their endeavors to express themselves on campus, and I would like to see a more engaged student body on all sides” he says.

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