College freshman Vanessa Clumeck was tired of being one of the only women at College Republican meetings. So Clumeck founded the University of Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women -- a group that she says will address a Republican agenda more sensitive to women's issues. The group, which is a chapter of a national organization of which she is a member in her home town of Orange County, Calif., seeks to promote Republican women candidates, increase the number of women Republicans and boost the image of the GOP among women. "We want to get the message out to women that the Republican party isn't hurting women, but actually helping them, by trying to encourage responsibility and prevent them from having five or six more children on welfare," she said. Clumeck said the College Republicans did not address as many women's issues as she would have liked. She also said the group is too conservative for her tastes. "They're really welcoming and warm, but they don't really address women's issues, mainly just Republican issues," she said. College Republicans President Dan Debicella agreed that his club does not focus on women's issues and believes that Clumeck's club will fill a niche on campus. "They serve two different needs," the Wharton senior said. "The College Republicans does deal with issues that affect Americans as a whole. We don't spend a lot of time addressing issues that are specific to women." He said that the Federation of Women Republicans is a good counterpart to his club. "I think there's always been this kind of mystique that women are a heavily Democratic group and I don't think that's true at all," he said. "This gives the women in our club an outlet to discuss issues that are very specific to women." But what is good for one is not necessarily good for all. Eric Roberson, the president of College Democrats, said his group does not necessitate a women's component. "I understand why they did it as Republican women, but I think we are a little more associated with women's issues in general," the College senior said. "I think that in the Republican party there is a deep division forming between the arch-conservative wing and the moderate wing of the party, and I'm not sure if they've figured out how to include everyone into their platform." Clumeck said the National Federation of Republican Women does not take a stance on many issues, so as not to scare away potential members. "[Members] don't take a stand either way," she said. "They try not to frighten away anybody. They try to embrace everybody, which is what I want to make sure we do." Clumeck said the main credo of her new organization is to stand behind Republican women locally and nationally. "We just take everybody and come together with the fact that we're Republicans and that we want to get more women in office," she said. College freshman Peter Wright, who is a member of both Republican clubs, said that he prefers the agenda of Clumeck's club. "I think the leader is well organized and I think it will get a lot done this year," he said, adding that Clumeck's agenda "is a lot more inclusive of ideas that are more in tune with what college kids want to be doing and the ideas and philosophies that they want represented than the College Republicans." Penn's Federation of Republican Women plans to meet twice a month, with social and more serious activities alternating at each gathering. The next meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. in room 301 in Houston Hall.Comments powered by Disqus
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