ETSU club seeking conservative members

Robert Houk • Nov 1, 2019 at 12:00 AM

The leader of the East Tennessee Sate University Conservative Coalition wants people in the region to know that conservatism is indeed alive and doing well on university campuses.

“There are more of us than people think,” said Holdon Guy, who has served as chairman of the group at ETSU since August 2018. “We enjoy great support from the entire community. College students want to be involved, and be a part of the political discussion. The coalition helps to foster that.”

He said the coalition, which was founded as a campus club at ETSU in 2015, is “well-respected” by students and faculty alike. A senior majoring in political science, Guy said the coalition involves members of College Republicans, Turning Point USA, the National Rifle Association and the Young Americans Foundation.

Guy, who is also president of College Republicans at ETSU, said that while the coalition can’t directly get involved in political campaigns and fundraising activities, its members often volunteer for Republican candidates. He said he and other coalition members were very active in U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s campaign in 2018. 

“We knocked on a ton of doors,” Guy said.

He said the coalition is a place where “conservative students can get together” to learn more about politics and how to become effective activists, as well as to get to know the community and its elected officials. The coalition — with more than 250 members — recently hosted an event that provided students with an opportunity to hear from two of the state’s members of Congress.

Guy said said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, was on hand Oct. 25 to introduce U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, who was the group’s guest speaker.

“Our members were able to talk to their congressmen about things that are important to them,” he said. “A lot of young people never have that opportunity.”

The coalition also held what it called “NRA University” on campus in September, which was an event where NRA officials discussed the Second Amendment and the history of the gun-control debate in the United States. Participants received a free one-year membership to the NRA.

Guy said the coalition is planning to have Hayden Williams, a conservative activist who was attacked on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley earlier this year, at ETSU on Nov. 19 for a program and Q & A being billed: “Free Speech and Liberal Intimidation Tactics on College Campuses.” He said the time and place for the event will be announced later.

The coalition meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month when ETSU is in session. It currently meets in Room 315 of Sam Wilson Hall.

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