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Bruin Republicans talk their way to $28,000 in donations

By Jennifer Case

March 2, 2004 9:00 p.m.

A political student group on campus that has previously voiced
their desire to obtain university funding recently discovered an
easier way to obtain far more than the university could ever
provide.

In the span of a mere three weeks, the Bruin Republicans’
budget has grown from zero to tens of thousands. Since appearing on
the Al Rantel radio talk show in early February, the group has
received over $28,000 in donations from the show’s
listeners.

Christopher Moritz of Bruin Republicans and Garin Hovannisian, a
former group member and a current Daily Bruin Viewpoint columnist,
appeared on the show to spread the word about their campaign
against MEChA.

The campaign addresses concerns they have with one of
MEChA’s founding documents of the 1960s, “El Plan de
Aztlán.” The Bruin Republicans believe the plan promotes
discrimination and that the Chicana/o organization should denounce
the plan.

The founding documents of MEChA advocated exclusively for the
rights of the Chicana/o community while opposing the rights of
people of European descent. Members of MEChA have repeatedly said
they no longer subscribe to this part of the document.

While on the air, Rantel asked the members of the Bruin
Republicans to speak about the club’s concerns regarding
MEChA, especially concerning MEChA’s funding from UCLA.

Moritz said a big concern was that MEChA received over $6,000 of
university funds, whereas his club received nothing due to the
funding policy.

Bruin Republicans have complained in the past that they do not
receive funding from the Undergraduate Students Association Council
because they are identified as an independent group due to their
political affiliation. These funding guidelines have come under
fire by members of the council and by some administrators in recent
weeks.

Some members of MEChA believe the Bruin Republicans do not
deserve bragging rights about the money they received.

“It’s sad that they are bragging about this money
that they raised from attacking an organization,” said
Allende Palma/Saracho, internal vice president of USAC and a MEChA
member. “This makes us ask the question, “˜Did they
start this campaign for the very reason of raising
money?'”

Bruin Republican members say they did not have the intention of
raising funds but are nonetheless appreciative of the large number
of donations they have received.

L.A. resident Janyce Horn heard Rantel reading a letter Moritz
had written and said she felt compelled to donate to the group.

“I don’t usually respond to radio shows this way.
What they wrote affected me, and I felt I had to respond. These
students needed funds in order to continue to make their arguments,
and I felt I could help,” Horn said.

Members of the group believe the support shows that the L.A.
community is interested in helping student causes.

“This campaign really shows how important the UCLA
political community is to the outside world. This shows us that
what happens here really does matter,” said Bruin Republican
member Matthew Knee.

In addition to helping financially, some listeners extended
their support to the group, attaching encouraging notes to their
checks. Horn was one of them.

“I want to use my ability to help them to organize and to
be a support. I want to be there for them in any way they need. I
would do that for any healthy cause,” Horn said.

The group is currently considering what to do with its new surge
in funds.

“Before the donations, we had no budget. We paid for
everything out of our own pockets, and we’re simply not used
to having these types of resources,” Knee said.

The group plans to use the money to further its MEChA campaign
through advertising and tabling on Bruin Walk.

“The point of the money should be for us to put out the
right-of-center opinion on the UCLA campus. I think that’s
what the donors want us to do,” Moritz said.

Palma/Saracho said MEChA is not going to spend much time or
energy responding to Bruin Republican allegations.

“We invest our time in a lot more proactive measures. …
We don’t have the time to be reactionary,” he said,
adding they may coordinate some educational forums in the future
“so people hear who we are from our own mouths.”

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Jennifer Case
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