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Gen Z Was NHDems’ Seawall Against the ‘Red Wave’

If the Democrats had a secret weapon Tuesday during their surprise showing for the midterms, it may have been young voters acting as a seawall against the anticipated “Red Wave.” And that was especially true in the Granite State.

Votes are still being counted, but instead of handily losing control of both houses of Congress as expected, Democrats may be a few seats behind the GOP in the House and have a realistic chance of maintaining the current 50-50 tie in the Senate.

They were so key to the Democrats’ success, President Joe Biden gave Gen Z voters a shoutout during Wednesday’s post-election presser.

“I especially want to thank the young people of this nation,” Biden said during his White House remarks. “They voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms, and student debt relief.”

In the fight for the state legislature, Gen Z voters helped cut the size of the GOP House majority down to just 203-197 — before recounts. Republicans, like House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn), said they are confident their majority will hold. “The voters of New Hampshire have spoken and have sent Republicans back into the majority in the House for the 2023-2024 term,” he said in a statement.

But the final outcome will be directly impacted by the youth vote.

Democrat-aligned organizations spent millions focusing on mobilizing the youth vote. One of those groups, NextGen America, spent $25 million on the election, according to its president, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez. Those voters were natural targets for the continual messaging on abortion and fighting extremism from the Hassan, Kuster, and Pappas campaigns.

“Young people are relentlessly committed to building the infrastructure needed to harness the full power and potential of the largest and most diverse generation in American history,” Tzintzún Ramirez said. “From abortion access to economic justice, young people recognized the stakes and mobilized to address some of the most challenging issues our country has ever faced. Young people just sent a clear message: The future belongs to us–and there’s no room for hatred, greed, or fear in the country we will continue to build.” 

Part of NextGen’s plan was to find voters on college campuses, targeting 245 colleges nationwide. The group used direct mail, texts, calls, and influencers to reach close to 10 million young voters ahead of Tuesday’s election. The success was evident in Tuesday’s results.

Our initial data from Youth Vote Indicator Precincts shows that young people NextGen registered or pledged to vote turned out at 6 points higher than young people overall during the early voting period. And early turnout among young voters in precincts organized by NextGen exceeded nationwide averages,” Tzintzún Ramirez said. 

In college towns like Durham, home of the University of New Hampshire, and Hanover, home to the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College, college students surged to the polls. The Granite State has the highest percentage of college students in its population in the country.

According to Durham officials, 1,446 people registered to vote on Tuesday, out of more than 5,900 total ballots cast. Most of those new voters were UNH students. As a result, Democrats won big. Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas scored nearly 4 to 1 margins over Republicans Don Bolduc and Karoline Leavitt respectively.

Carson Hansford, president of the UNH College Republicans, said the state party put time and money into getting out the vote in Durham, but could not match the intensity of the young Democrats.

“College campuses tend to be more liberal. That was proven again last night,” Hansford said.

In Hanover, close to 800 people registered to vote on Tuesday, again mostly students from Hanover, according to town officials. Griffin Mackey, a conservative Dartmouth student with the Dartmouth College Republicans, said voter sentiment in towns like Hanover did not reflect the reality of the rest of the state. Dartmouth students largely come from wealthy families that already skew liberal, he said.

“Dartmouth students are 1) not from New Hampshire and generally do not engage with the local community beyond their campus; 2) do not pay for food or rent, and 3) do not have cars or pay for gas,” Mackey said. “How on earth could Gen. Don Bolduc, or any other conservative candidate for that matter, appeal to those students?”

According to national exit polls, 63 percent of Gen Z and Millennial voters, aged 18 to 29, voted for Democrats. Just 35 percent backed the GOP.

Bolduc focused on economic issues impacting working families, like “heating or eating,” and most other GOP candidates hit the economy, record high inflation, and soaring fuel costs as part of their campaigns. Mackey said messages about economic insecurity generally fell on deaf ears in affluent Hanover.

“This is a foreign concept for many Dartmouth students who believe that the fossil fuel industry is evil and who want everyone to be vegan,” Mackey said.

UNH Political Science Department Denies Bias in Leavitt Snub

University of New Hampshire College Democrats seem to be getting help with turnout for their events from the school’s political science department, though its chair denies any bias. 

When the UNH Political Science Department sent out a notice informing students of an upcoming Get Out the Vote rally featuring Democrats Sen. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, College Republican President Carson Hansford took exception.

“I was shocked when I saw the notice,” Hansford said.

The department regularly sends students notices about events on campus featuring political figures. The notices typically state they are not endorsements of any political side, and the department does not sponsor the events in any way. But Hansford said institutional bias seems to be at work.

Last spring, the College Republicans hosted GOP congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt as part of her “Wake up Gen Z College Tour.” Hansford sent an email about the event to the address for the department listed in the school’s directory. He never heard back. The department never sent a notice to students about the Leavitt appearance he said.

“I had not received an email in reply, so I had forgotten about it and had assumed that the department did not want to advertise anything that was political,” Hansford said. “Yesterday … the political science department sent an email advertising Sen. Hassan and Sen. Warren coming to campus on Friday for a GOTV (get out the vote) event, even sending out the Democrat’s link to sign up for it.”

Hansford said there is a general liberal bias on campus among students, and that he and his fellow College Republicans deal with regular snarky comments when they hold public events.

“People say to us we’re the worst thing ever, things along those lines,” Hansford said.

Jeannie Sowers

Jeannie Sowers, the department chair, told NH Journal the issue of the notices from her department is not a story, and that Hansford was wrong to speak to the media about his concerns.

“I do not appreciate students reaching out to the media and trying to create a controversy where none exists,” Sowers said.

When asked about the Leavitt event, Sowers feigned ignorance.

“I do not know who that is,” Sowers said of the GOP rising star who is facing off against Rep. Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, in next week’s closely watched election with national implications.

Sowers said the department has a rule not to send out notices about people who are merely candidates and instead focuses on sitting elected officials regardless of party.

“Sitting elected officials are more likely to get notice,” Sowers said.

Sowers faulted Hansford for not reaching out to the department with his concerns and cast doubt on whether he ever sent the department a notice about his event. She also suggested Hansford may have requested some type of sponsorship from the department for the event, which would have been against policy.

Hansford, a political science undergrad, said he did not ask for any kind of endorsement or sponsorship. As for the distinction about sitting elected officials getting priority over candidates, Hansford said the department sent out notices about Democratic presidential candidates like Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary season.

UNH is ranked 16th in the nation for free speech on campus by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), but that was down from 3rd just a year earlier.  Katelyn Regan, head of the UNH Students for Life chapter, recently told NH Journal her pro-life organization has been subject to threats and intimidation on campus, mostly from pro-abortion students.

“We have had the police called on us a bunch of times,” Regan said.

Leavitt has run into stumbling blocks on New Hampshire campuses throughout her campaign. Last summer, Southern New Hampshire University imposed restrictions on the audience for an appearance by Leavitt hosted by the campus College Republicans. The administration acknowledged it singled out Leavitt for being “controversial.”

“Our policies are compliant with both state and federal laws and allow for the free flow of information and ideas while ensuring campus safety,” said SNHU spokesperson Siobhan Lopez.

UNH Celebrates ‘Sextober,’ Silences Pro-Life Students

University of New Hampshire students are getting a crash course in all things sex this month, from vulva appreciation seminars, instructions on how to come out with an LGBTQI+ identity, sexual device giveaways, to classes on yoga to increase pleasure.

But it suppresses information about nearby pregnancy crisis centers where women can turn for help if needed.

While intense Sextober festivities, put on by the state school’s Health & Wellness Center, focus on teaching college students how to enjoy having sex, it does not include any basic information on how to handle the natural result.

“It’s not really giving people resources if you’re only telling them about safe sex,” said Katelyn Regan, the head of the UNH Students for Life chapter.

The Sextober schedule includes multiple talks and programs aimed at dealing with abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade. The free classes include instructions on how to obtain abortions and contraceptive services. What is not mentioned is what, if any, support UNH offers to women if they choose to keep their babies, Regan said.

“It can be very frustrating,” Regan said. “They are ignoring that pregnancy only comes from sex.”

The pro-life message generally gets short shrift on campus, according to Regan. The Health & Wellness Department will make referrals to the nearby abortion clinic for students seeking the procedure, but it does not refer pregnant women to the pro-life pregnancy center, which is closer to campus, she said.

In a podcast interview with NHJournal, Regan revealed that the Health and Wellness Center won’t allow students to even post information about crisis pregnancy centers on the same bulletin board covered with material from Planned Parenthood.

“Health and Wellness has refused to let us put up any kind of life-affirming resource materials,” Regan said. “They have a brochure wall, and half of those brochures have a lovely little Planned Parenthood stamp on the bottom of them. They won’t let us.”

 

 

The school, in general, offers little support and few services for pregnant students, leaving women with a terrible choice, she said.

“It’s not fair for women to have to choose between having an abortion and continuing their education here,” Regan said. “Right now, there is no support.”

There is hope for change on that front. Regan is working with the college administration to change school policies and make the campus more welcoming for pregnant women who want to continue their studies.

Erika Mantz, UNH’s executive director of media relations, said in an email that pregnant students, and students who are mothers of infants, can request “academic accommodations, extensions on assignments, flexible attendance plans, being able to stand rather than sit or sit rather than stand in classes or labs as needed, getting larger workspaces, addressing graduate student funding and benefits concerns as applicable, unrestricted bathroom breaks, etc.”

“Students can request accommodations through the Civil Rights and Equity Office at UNH,” Mantz said.

The college does not make special housing for women with infants available but instead allows those women and their infants to live on campus subject to the same housing plans as other students, according to Matz. The university has one childcare center available, but Mantz said space is limited. 

“Childcare is not guaranteed as there is only one childcare center on the Durham campus. Infant spots are limited, and unless planned in advance, there is often a waiting list,” Mantz said.

The school does offer space for mothers to nurse their infants or express milk, she said. 

The university requires all full-time students to have health insurance. And the plan offered through UNH does include coverage for pregnancy, according to Mantz. 

The university Student Health Benefit Plan also provides this pregnancy coverage and parents/families can add their children to this plan,” Mantz said.

As for the Students for Life organization, Regan said she and her fellow pro-lifers are subject to regular harassment and threats of violence when they advocate for life on campus.

“We have had the police called on us a bunch of times,” Regan said.

Setting up a table with literature on campus can be tricky, she said. They are subject to protesters, some of whom get in their faces to shout and scream at them.

“Unfortunately, this is something that happens to us a lot,” Regan said.

The group was even subject to a bomb threat made on a social media app this year, she said.

Last year, one of Regan’s friends was followed from the Students for Life table and nearly assaulted by other students angry about the pro-life message. Regan said police did respond to that call, but they were initially sent to investigate the Students for Life during that incident.

Despite the threat being caught on the school’s surveillance cameras, no one was charged, Regan said.

Students for Life members are careful to have all the necessary campus permits whenever they set up a table or hold an event, she said. The group also now has a solid working relationship with the campus police.

“It is our right for free speech to be there as long as we’re not trespassing,” she said. “Campus police have actually been really great.”

Progressive UNH Prof Gives Course Credit for Accusations of Racism

A UNH professor requires students to find someone to accuse of being racist, homophobic, or ableist and “call them out” in order to get credit for a communications class at the state-funded college.

Edward Reynolds, a communications professor and weight lifting coach, gained notoriety this week on social media when one of the requirements for his class hit the “Libs of TikTok” account. 

According to the course work posted online, Reynolds requires his students to record the interaction they have with the person they are “calling out” for alleged bigotry and submit the recording in order to get graded. 

Calling out, sometimes described as “calling in,” is when someone is confronted over ideas or statements that are deemed politically incorrect. Reynolds, who graduated from college in Australia, instructed students, as part of their graded coursework, to seek out people in their lives who they deem are engaging in racism, homophobia, or ableism, through their language or actions.

“Call in someone on their ableist, racist, or homophobic use of language, for microaggressions (or an act of racism) towards a person of color, homophobia against LGBTQI+, or ableism against a disabled person,” the course description states. “You must also record calling them in, in order to get credit.”

The potential problems are self-evident: People targeted by Reynolds’ students may object to being called racist or bigots. They might object to being recorded. There’s even the risk of a physical confrontation.

Reynolds claims in the course description that the recordings and the names of the people “called out/called in” will not be made public. But neither Reynolds nor anyone from UNH answered New Hampshire Journal’s questions about how that anonymity will be guaranteed.

Reynolds declined to respond to multiple requests for comments, as did the UNH media relations team.  Representatives for the University System of New Hampshire declined to answer questions about Reynolds’ coursework as well.

State Rep. Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown) called Reynolds’ class a “witch-hunt.”

“As far as I’m concerned the public has a right to know why tax dollars are being spent on student witch-hunts. Make no mistake, New Hampshire institutions of higher learning are not immune to the sort of ‘woke-ness’ that is prevalent in the swampiest parts of this country. The public needs answers,” Alexander said.

Manchester’s branch of the NAACP did not respond to questions on Thursday whether “calling out” furthers goals of reducing racism and fostering racial understanding. Former President Barak Obama recently pointed out that “call-outs” give the illusion of effecting change, even when that is not true. 

“If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right, or used the wrong word or verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, because, ‘Man, you see how woke I was. I called you out.’ That’s not activism,” Obama said.

Karoline Leavitt, a candidate in the GOP primary for the 1st District Congressional seat, said Thursday that Reynolds’ course is a prime example of wokeism run amok.

“Let me be very clear – students should not be asked to accuse one another of racism,” Leavitt said. “Unfortunately, our teachers unions and educators have forgotten they work on behalf of the taxpayers, and our curriculum is failing our students.”

Gail Huff Brown, another GOP candidate, said Reynolds is out-of-touch.

“If one of my daughters had an assignment like this I would have been appalled and I suggest this professor get out of their academic bubble and visit the real world where the vast majority of us are friendly, tolerant, and welcoming of all people,” Huff Brown said.

Last year, New Hampshire’s legislature banned public employees from teaching that any person or group is superior or inferior based on their race, creed, or sexual identity. However, that law specifically excludes the state’s public college system. A proposal introduced this year, HB 1313, would apply the anti-discrimination law to New Hampshire colleges.