Cedarville may soon see a renewal of the student organization College Democrats. Jordan Ryner, a sophomore media communications major, said he is in the final stages of reintroducing the org and plans to launch before the end of the month.
“What I’m finding more and more is there is this impression in Cedarville that because I’m a Christian, because I’m a Cedarville student, I have to be a Republican,” Ryner said. “And that’s false. There’s nowhere in the Bible that says, ‘Thou shalt vote for Mitt Romney.’”
College Democrats as a student organization previously existed for about two years, but it dissolved in 2010. Susan Jones, a 2010 Cedarville graduate and the former vice president of College Democrats, said in an email that the org didn’t make the transition to new leadership.
“We were on track to build momentum to carry us into the next year, but both of us experienced the death of a friend and that took precedence,” Jones said. “So we didn’t organize elections, and since we both graduated that spring, College Democrats didn’t return as a functional organization.”
Jones said she faced persecution at Cedarville as a result of her involvement in College Democrats.
“We got our funding later than other student organizations and we were forced to justify our events to the administration,” Jones said. “We got hate mail. My dorm room door was defaced with the word ‘baby-killer,’ and I lost track of the number of times I was informed that I was going to hell. Without College Democrats, Cedarville is politically homogeneous, and that is a state of affairs that should concern anyone who is in any way committed to the idea of the university as a place that encourages critical thought in its student body.”
Ryner said he hopes the org will be an outlet for Democrats who have faced opposition in the past.
“I say I’m a Democrat, and a lot of people get aggressive,” Ryner said. “There’s a lot of Democrats on campus who close up, and they don’t want to become active because they’re scared of what the rest of the student body thinks.”
When he re-establishes the org, Ryner said he hopes it will be a resource for Democrats at Cedarville.
“I’d like the group to be an outlet for people who want to go into politics,” Ryner said. “I would like them to have access to the political realm for future jobs.”
Ryner said he also hopes to restore healthy competition to Cedarville’s political environment through the org.
“We are Democrats and we are going to be advocating liberal ideas, but just because we have different political mentalities doesn’t mean we have to be at war with one another,” he said.
“It’ll be a challenge because there are fewer liberals than conservatives on campus,” Ryner said, “but it’s not impossible. I think we can do it.”