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University of Alabama College Republican Leadership Removed

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On November 17, an illegal election was held to replace the Executive committee of the University of Alabama College Republicans, (UACR), according to the ousted President.

Maverick Flowers, who served as president of the UACR until he was replaced in a surprise election said, “I’m used to these people personally attacking me…but I didn’t think they would go and try to illegally pull some stuff, but they did.”

Flowers said the illegal elections that led to the replacement of the UACR leadership was orchestrated by members of the College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA), with aid from the Alabama State Republican Party, (ALGOP).

This is not the first time that party Chairman Bill Armistead and members of the ALGOP Executive committee have tried to control college leadership, even though ALGOP has no authority over college groups.

In 2013, Stephanie Petelos, then chairwoman of CRFA, was reprimanded by Armistead after speaking out in support of marriage equality. So adamant were some members that a proposed by-laws change to remove anyone from the ALGOP steering committee who expressed views contrary to those of the Republican National Committee was proposed.

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Petelos reached an agreement with the party leadership as long as she stayed publicly quiet. “If I didn’t talk to any more press, or post on Facebook, or use any of my influence to talk about gay marriage, then they would not try to continue removing me from the steering committee,” she said.

(See article here.)

In the case of Flowers and his fellow members of the College’s Executive Committee, the solution was removal, not negotiations.

Flowers said he and the UACR Committee first became aware of the coup attempt when Dalton Dismukes, College Republican Central Vice Chairman, and Robert Crocker, Treasurer of the CRFA, along with members of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, paid a surprise visit to their November 3, meeting.

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According to Laura Carr, Secretary of the UACR, she and others were overwhelmed when over 20 college students showed up at the November 3, meeting wearing ALGOP stickers, wanting to join the club that night, and pay their $10 membership so they could vote.

“There was nothing to vote on that night, we were trying to sign-up volunteers to work on campaign the following day,” said Flowers, “we were trying to get people on the campaign to do last minute flag waving…and all of a sudden 25 new people randomly show up…saying they wanted to vote. It was at this point that Flowers said he, “smelled something kind of fishy.”

Flowers and Carr later found that the “fishy” part began with an email sent by the Alpha Chi Omega sorority entitled “Happy Election Day Eve! BONUS POSITIVE POINTS.”

The email read, “Hello again lovely ladies!

I’ve been in contact with Taylor Dawson, AXO alumn who graduated in May, and we have some lovely information for everyone!

It is Election Day Eve! In the spirit of Election Day, I am offering bonus positive points to anyone who goes to the College Republicans meeting tonight and pays membership dues ($10 in cash) to join. The CRs have a lot of great things coming up in the next few months, and they’re looking for a boost in membership. Taylor Dawson now works for the Alabama Republican Party, and she reached out to me about getting Alpha Chi involved! She will be at the meeting tonight and hopes to see a lot of you there!

The meeting will be in Bidgood 365 at 7:30 pm! I hope y’all can make it! This is a great opportunity for a few extra positive points here at the end of the semester!

Remember to go vote tomorrow no matter which party you are for!

Happy Election Day Eve!”

At the time, Dawson was working closely with the State Republican Party. It is also believed that ALGOP communication Director, Britney Garner, reached out to her former sorority Kappa Delta Alumni, to motivate them to turnout for the college republican meeting as well.

Flowers said that he and Carr began to except the checks for membership from those who came to the meeting, but that the whole event was strange, “We start taking money and writing names down on a sheet. We had girls paying $60.00 for multiple people in cash. One girl is saying, “I’m paying for these 6 people.”

“I’m with this group. They’re paying for me.” it was really awkward, Flowers recalls, “I had never seen anyone pay someone else’s dues……then we get a check from Don Wallace, one of ALGOP’s executive committee members out here in Tuscaloosa County, and that struck me as weird because Don’s never been a fan of the county republicans here.”

According to Flowers and Carr the official meeting was over when things took a very bad turn. CRSA’s Dalton Dismukes and Robert Crocker tried to commandeer the meeting, with Dismukes saying loudly,”We’re gonna hold elections tonight.”

Flowers said he responded saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, we’re not holding elections here tonight.” According to his account there was a “huge confrontation…we kept saying you’re making a scene, let’s meet in private but they continued to call for an election even though the meeting was adjourned.”

Flowers says that according to the chapters constitution, elections are held in the Spring. He also notes that the constitution states that the chapter’s executives are the only officials that may call for elections.

Dismukes has asserted that the UACR were operating under the 2005 constitution and not the current 2014-2015. However, as Flowers points out, both documents state that it is the executive committee of UACR that must call for an election.

But, the takeover attempt did not end on November 3. On November 18, Dalton Dismukes called a meeting of the UACR to hold elections. Dismukes said on Facebook that the meeting was initiated by the groups sponsor, Jamey Clement and the Source, which is the governing agency for student organizations.

Flowers said that Clement had been replaced as the groups sponsor when he ran for a seat in the State House of Representatives. His replacement was Dr. George Hawley, a political science professor at UA. However, the change was never never recorded by the Source.

Flowers said that certain leaders at ALGOP became irritated with him and the UACR when the group conducted a survey of its members which showed they had moderate views on Gay Marriage, Legalizing Marijuana and the Education Lottery. Flowers said everyone was welcome as long as they identified with some part of the national platform, but not everything. “These are today’s kids voting and they have less hang-ups about social issues.” Flowers said, “…when they say you’re liberal or moderate that means you don’t agree with them, that’s all they really mean.”

“Clement spoke with Flowers the day before the coup election warning him that no matter how the executive committee felt about it, the leadership would be changed that night regardless,” said Carr. “This is completely unconstitutional an adviser is not allowed to call an election, let alone a past adviser.”

However, on November 18, Dismukes and Clement sponsored a meeting at which Flowers and the others members of the UACR were replaced. “The only people who showed up to their meeting were the people ALGOP incentivized; the 23 they had gotten before…none of our members were there, with the exception of Scott Whitehouse, who was UACR’s Vice President.” Said Flowers, “…he was only there to keep us informed on what was happening.”

Flowers and the other members of the original UACR have filed with the Source and hope to bring this illegal action to light.

Flowers says, while he will be graduating soon, he doesn’t want to see just an injustice left unanswered. “They are teaching kids that it is o.k. to act like this, and that is not the way it should be,” said Flowers.

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Vaccines should protect against mutated strains of coronavirus

Public health experts say it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Multiple vaccines for COVID-19 are in clinical trials, and one has already applied for emergency use authorization, but how good will those vaccines be against a mutating coronavirus? A UAB doctor says they’ll do just fine. 

Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB’s hospital epidemiologist, told reporters earlier this week that there have been small genetic mutations in COVID-19. What researchers are seeing in the virus here is slightly different than what’s seen in the virus in China, she said. 

“But luckily the way that these vaccines have been created, specifically the mRNA vaccines, is an area that is the same for all of these viruses,” Lee said, referring to the new type of vaccine known as mRNA, which uses genetic material, rather than a weakened or inactive germ, to trigger an immune response. 

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration is to review the drug company Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10. Pfizer’s vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, as is a vaccine produced by the drug maker Moderna, which is expected to also soon apply for emergency use approval. 

“I think that is incredibly good news, that even though we may see some slight mutations,  we should have a vaccine that should cover all of those different mutations,” Lee said. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found in a recent study, published in the journal Science, that COVID-19 has mutated in ways that make it spread much more easily, but the mutation may also make it more susceptible to vaccines. 

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In a separate study, researchers with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found that while most vaccines were modeled after an earlier strain of COVID-19, they found no evidence that the vaccines wouldn’t provide the same immunity response for the new, more dominant strain. 

“This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives,” said CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall, according to Science Daily

While it may not be long before vaccines begin to be shipped to states, public health experts warn it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public. Scarce supplies at first will be allocated for those at greatest risk, including health care workers who are regularly exposed to coronavirus patients, and the elderly and ill. 

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking to APR last week, urged the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing for many more months, as the department works to make the vaccines more widely available.

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“Just because the first shots are rolling out doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing everything we’ve been trying to get people to do for months. It’s not going to be widely available for a little while,” Harris said.

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Tuberville looks forward to public service “probably for the rest of my life”

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

Brandon Moseley

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Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville during an interview with Sean Spicer on Newsmax.

U.S. Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, told Newsmax’s Sean Spicer that he looks forward to the opportunity to give back to this country.

“After winning this and after being up here a couple of weeks and seeing how much of a difference we have made just to this point in the Senate has been gratifying,” Tuberville said. “I look forward to doing public service probably for the rest of my life.”

Tuberville said that he was 18 years old when the Vietnam War was coming to a close and then got into coaching so never served in the military and looks forward to the opportunity to give back to the country.

“As I went around the state of Alabama for those two years though I learned the respect of the people and how much that they want this country to remain the United States of America that we know and grew up in to go by the Constitution and those things. As I went through the campaign I got more and more fond of that I want to give back,” Tuberville said.

“I never served, I never gave back, but God was so good to me and my wife my family,” Tuberville said. “Giving back means so much to me after I was given so much for many, many years.”

Tuberville said that education will be a priority for him, getting education back to fundamentals like reading, writing, history and math. Tuberville said that unless the country gets back to fundamentals in education, “This country is not going to make it. We have got to get back to fundamentals and we are getting farther and farther every day.”

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Tuberville was the only Republican on Nov. 3 to defeat an incumbent Senate Democrat when he unseated Sen. Doug Jones.

“I want to be the voice for the people of Alabama,” Tuberville explained. “The previous Senator was a voice for his party, the Democratic party.”

Tuberville, a career college football coach, reiterated his position that we should play sports and send kids back to school despite the coronavirus global pandemic.

“I think we are doing a lot better in sports than we are doing in a lot of other areas,” Tuberville said. “I was keeping my fingers crossed back in August that we would let our young kids go play high school sports, number one, and then we get into college sports. There are so many people throwing negatives on why we should not do that. But I can tell you, you can see many more positives if we go back to school and we play sports. It’s important that we attack this virus as it has been attacking us. If it gives us an inch, we gotta take it.”

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Tuberville reiterated his opposition to shutting down restaurants, schools and businesses to fight the virus.

“We have to get back to everyday life,” Tuberville said. “You can’t keep shutting people down. Freedom is a power that we have. A power that we have earned because of our forefathers. We can’t give that up.”

Tuberville is an Arkansas native. He was the head football coach at Auburn University where he won an SEC championship, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. Prior to that, he was a national championship defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. He was also the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

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National

UAB cancels third game

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The UAB Department of Athletics on Thursday announced that it is canceling its final home game of the season. UAB was scheduled to play Southern Mississippi on Friday at Legion Field, but the game was canceled due to continuing problems with COVID-19.

UAB has said that it will “continue to work with Conference USA on the remaining regular-season schedule.”

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

UAB currently has a record of just four wins and three losses.

A win at Rice would guarantee the Blazers a winning season, but in this COVID altered season, a four and three or four and four record is probably good enough to be bowl eligible.

Southern Miss has had a dreadful season. They are two and seven and have two remaining games, against UTEP and Florida Atlantic. Both of those games were postponed from earlier in the season.

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Unless the season is extended a week to the 19th, there is no way for UAB and Southern Miss to make up the canceled game.

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News

Official state Christmas tree was delivered

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

Brandon Moseley

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The 2016 state Christmas tree in front of the state Capitol.

Alabama’s official Christmas Tree was delivered to the state Capitol this week.

This year’s tree was donated by Robbins Taylor Sr. It is an Eastern Red Cedar that was grown in Letohatchee, Alabama.

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

The tree will be adorned with lights and decorations ahead of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4. Gov. Ivey’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Capitol in Montgomery.

Alabama became the first state in the nation to make Christmas an official government holiday in 1836. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

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