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The Counter-Counterculture 

Ah, to be young and Republican at Cal

Wednesday, May 12 2004
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Page 6 of 6

"I just wanted to remind you that [club] elections are coming up [on April 29], so those of you looking to run again ...." She leaves the sentence hanging.

The board members launch into a discussion of the positions that need to be filled, and Irvin declares that she will run for a second term as president. (She won handily.) The other board members cheer -- and then tease Irvin for making some volunteers "scared that you'll yell at them."

They assess the pros and cons of various candidates being considered for leadership positions. All but Gallais, who is more reserved in this discussion, speak in dramatic, gossipy tones.

Rudmann describes one candidate: "He was totally a freak at the debate."

Irvin interjects. "My freshman year he was, like, yelling at me, saying, 'Your dad buys you everything.' I'm like, 'Uh, single mom, thank you very much.' So anyway, I don't like him."

She runs the meeting casually, and though there's a fair amount of banter, it's clear Irvin is in charge. The group briefly visits other topics, such as the upcoming End of the Year Banquet that Irvin and Kolin have been organizing (John Herrington, a secretary of energy under Ronald Reagan, will be the keynote speaker). But soon it's back on the topic of fresh blood for the board.

"Maybe I expect too much from the people I appoint," Irvin says. "It's not just telling them to do this; you have to hold their hand through the entire process, and it's actually more time-consuming. And that's what happened this year. So even when people were told what to do and they had training, they messed it up and we had to go back and fix it, or they gave up entirely and said, 'You do it.'"

"So what does that mean for the future of BCR?" Bauer asks.

"Exactly. That's the question," Gallais replies.

"Like Andrea said, we need to get younger people on the board," Bauer continues. "If we don't, in positions that are important, then we're all going to graduate and BCR is going to drop. They're probably going to go back to having, like, 10 members."

Eventually, someone tosses out the name of a sophomore, a dedicated California Patriot staff member.

"Now I know why he doesn't do Patriot distribution anymore," Kolin says. "Because somebody hit him one time."

The group gasps.

Kolin rises from the coach to re-enact the incident, charging aggressively toward Rudmann and pretending to shove an imaginary person. "He rammed right into him," she says.

This comment unleashes a flood of Patriot distribution war stories.

"I love how guys who are really bigger than you, and you're a girl and you're passing out the Patriot, and they somehow slam you, and you're like, 'Wow, that was mature,'" Rudmann says.

"It happened to me," Irvin reveals. "There was this guy with a bike, and he was walking with his bike but his elbows were out, and he ran into my back, and I had to take a step to keep my balance, and then I looked at him, and he kinda smirked at me and walked on, and I was like, 'Jerk.'"

"If we were as bad as the liberal groups at this school, then we'd go into [student body] senate chambers and say, 'The hate on this campus must stop because our members get hit and we're just standing there!'" Rudmann says in a mocking tone. "'Cause that's what they do."

The meeting has become something of a throwback to 1999, when the club was primarily a forum for bitching about Berkeley. Except that these members are no longer "impotent," but emboldened: They know they have a sizable, undaunted club to back them up.

Gallais smiles wryly at the stories of confrontation and feigns a horrified look. "'Oh, no,'" he says, "'the Republicans!'"

About The Author

Bernice Yeung

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