The Leadership Institute, which trains conservatives in political skills, claims a victory at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where a conservative student group has swept to power in the student government.
Students began organizing a coalition two years ago. Students United for Change (SUFC), who aim to decrease student tuition, claimed an overwhelming majority, winning 42 out of 45 seats in the government.
Several of the recently-elected students received political training from the Leadership Institute ("LI"), in Arlington, Virginia. SUFC used LI tactics and ran clean campaigns to win on their campus.
SUFC Senator-elect Mark Zeihen said, "SUFC has a goal to save students' money by cutting excessive university spending. For instance, last year we cut funding to non-essential fulltime paid positions in the Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender club and the Women's Resource Center. These groups were able to solicit grants from outside sources, and students no longer have to fund their full-time employees. We hope to have more successes like these in the next school year."
The opposition party, Achieving Student Action through Progress (ASAP), won three seats. Prior to the election, officials removed ASAP from the ballot as a consequence of violating campaign rules.
Zeihen said, "ASAP ran a negative campaign against us, which goes against campus policy. Also, they ran on a platform of diversity, but all the candidates in their party were from the same leftist clubs."
Complaints of voter intimidation and bribery, as well as campaigning prior to the allotted campaign time were leveled against ASAP. The group distributed flyers so that students could write-in votes for their candidates, but SUFC still triumphed.
The newly-conservative-controlled Student Association will begin conducting business in June. Zeihen added, "We want to set an example for state and national leaders by being fiscally responsible."
Getting the opposition thrown off the ballot when they violate the rules may not be the best indicator of a tide of popular support among the electorate, but it gets the job done. Now the conservatives have an opportunity to show they can run the student association better.
Conservatism is not a hopeless cause among college students. They are naturally given to rebellion against authority figures, and the local authority figures on campus are the overwhelmingly leftist faculty and administration at most colleges and universities.