By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Report
MONTGOMERY—Recently, the former President of the University of Alabama College Republicans (UACR), Maverick Flowers says that he and his executive committee were ousted in an illegal election. Cole Lawson, State Chairman of the College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA), as well as State Political Director for the College Republican Federation of Alabama and the Central Vice Chairman, Dalton Dismukes adamantly disagree with that characterization of events.
“This whole thing has completely and totally been blown out of proportion,” said Dismukes, who says that the elections were held in accordance to the chapter’s constitution on file with the University’s governing body, the SOURCE. Dismukes also claims there is an audio recording of the meeting, at which Flowers says the ouster first materialized.
Chairman Lawson said that he looked at all the evidence surrounding the elections and believes that everything was held in strict accordance with the chapter’s by-laws.
According to Flowers, on November 3, an illegal attempt was made to hold a vote to elect the chapter’s executive committee.
Dismukes disputes that assertion and that a proper motion was made to schedule a vote in the coming weeks according to the standards outlined in the chapter’s constitution.
According to Dismukes, CRFA State Treasurer, Robert Proctor made a motion to hold elections, and produced a copy of the chapter constitution in order to assure the gathered members that in fact the elections would be legal. Dismukes says that Flowers did not agree with the by-laws presented saying, “I’m not going by those.”
A dispute over which bylaws were to be used for the proceedings is part of the contention between Flowers and members of the State Federation. Flowers, who was elected in the Spring, said that elections are to be held in the Spring, while Dismukes says they are to be held in the Fall. The by-laws filed with the SOURCE, which oversees all campus groups at the University, states that elections are to be conducted in the Fall not the Spring, according to documents supplied by Dismukes.
There is a constitution that does state that election are to be held in the Spring, but according to Dismukes that is not the one officially filed with the University.
An election was conducted on November 18, which replaced Flowers and other members of the chapter’s executive committee. This election has been recognized by the SOURCE as legitimate.
An article that appeared in the university student newspaper, The Crimson White, characterized the dispute as an ideological one. However, Lawson and Dismukes say it had more to do with a decline in participation within the group.
Lawson states that he had received “8 unique complaints” from group members who had disagreements with what they perceived as, “liberal” leanings of the chapter’s leadership. “My answer to all of these was, if you feel like you’re not being represented, then it’s time for a leadership change,” said Lawson.
Dismukes also says that it was about the decline in membership and not a matter of politically or ideologically leaning left or right.
Recent history does show that at times there have been public disagreements among college Republicans over the issue of same sex marriage, or other so-called liberal stands as was the case with former State Chair Stephanie Petelos whom Lawson replaced. Flowers has been accused of having similar leanings.
“I will say me and Mr. Flowers probably agree ideologically almost as much as Ms. Petelos did which is practically non-existent…but I’m not going to stop voting for their right to say it,” said Lawson.
Lawson and Dismukes both stated that Flowers’ claim that the Alabama Republican Party played any part in what occurred with the University club is false, and that former ALGOP Political Director Brittany Garner did not play a role in events as speculated by Flowers.
All of the events leading up to and including the elections of new officers by the UA College Republican group are before the board of the SOURCE.
The SOURCE has recognized the newly elected board as legitimate.