Smith College Republicans Club disbands over Trump’s handling of protests, pandemic

  • The Grecourt Gates of Smith College on Elm Street in Northampton. STAFF FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 6/11/2020 1:24:59 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Smith College Republican Club will disband in response to President Donald Trump’s actions against Black Lives Matter protests and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club’s leaders announced.

In an announcement posted to the club’s Facebook page, co-presidents Jordan Rowley and Tish Rosabelle wrote that they “stand against Donald Trump and denounce his actions” towards the protests and pandemic. A graphic with “Black Lives Matter” written above a club logo accompanied the post.

“Silence is complacency, and therefore we choose to speak up,” Rowley and Rosabelle wrote. “The loss of human life under this administration and centuries of systemic racism must be addressed.”

Attempts to reach club members for an interview were unsuccessful this week. 

Trump has been widely criticized for encouraging violence against protestors supporting Black Lives Matter. In response to the protests, which were sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes on Memorial Day, Trump instructed state governors to deploy the National Guard to ‘dominate the streets.’ In one incident in Washington, D.C., police and National Guard troops used tear gas and physical force against peaceful protestors to clear the area in front of a church so that Trump could be photographed.

Trump also has been widely criticized for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus, which Trump initially refused to acknowledge could become widespread, has already killed over 115,000 Americans, and is predicted to kill around 15,000 more by July 4, according to University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers.

The co-presidents wrote that they have a “responsibility to continue the tradition of the two-party system” on and off campus. “Nevertheless, something has the change,” they stated.

The club will not be active for at least the next semester, Rowley and Rosabelle wrote, as “leaders of the club will be directing their efforts elsewhere — both as individuals and as scholars,” though administrators of the Facebook page may continue to post information updates. Rowley and Rosabelle noted that students interested in reactivating the club may contact them or the Office of Student Engagement.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at
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