Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Gazette reporters noticed several anti-Republican political stickers featuring an elephant shaking his fist and saying “Vote ’08, We’ll Rule You Like Despots” posted on the College Republican board in Parrish on the afternoon of Friday, August 29th.
A “Shut up and Vote!” sticker from the same cartoonist, but satirizing both political parties, was posted once each on both the Republican and Democratic boards. Molly Weston ’10 of the College Democrats told us that she found said sticker on her board on Sunday, and posted a flyer for another event over it.
College Republican President J.B. Donnelly ’09 told the Gazette that “In terms of a reaction, I really don’t think it is that big of a deal. The stickers that were posted on the board are clearly absurd, and should be treated as such. It wasn’t any sort of incisive or substantial attack, and we consider it to be a minor, and mildly amusing, inconvenience.”
Another member of the College Republicans, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Gazette, “It’s sad that even at an open place like Swarthmore some people feel the need to silence opinions counter to their own.”
It is unclear who placed the stickers on the boards and why, but Registrar Martin Warner, who walked by when this Gazette reporter and some members of the College Republicans were looking at the stickers, wrote the Gazette in an e-mail: “Parrish bulletin boards have a special place in Swarthmore’s tradition of civil and accountable discourse, and any vandalism of them is totally inappropriate. New members of our community are still learning how important our traditions and expectations for civil discourse are here, so this can be a learning moment for many. I hope our response to the vandalism will include a reminder and a call to respect, listen to, and engage each other responsibly and accountably.”
One way to engage respectfully, of course, is to talk with the College Republicans. Although they did not have a presence at the activities fair, Donnelly assured us that the club is still active. “We will be announcing the time and location of our meetings within the next day or two, and will likely be hosting an event during the convention, though the schedule has been disrupted by the weather in the Gulf. Those that are interested in conversing with us are more than welcome to attend.”