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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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A conversation with…Victoria Granda

Victoria Granda is a rising senior pursuing a degree in music history as part of the integrated masters’ degree study program. Beginning last year, Granda became the president of one of the three major political organizations on campus, the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL.) The Observer had the opportunity to discuss with Granda her experience with YAL and her future aspirations for the organization.

Greg Bokar: When did you first get involved with YAL?

Victoria Granda: I started right at the beginning of freshman year, after coming from a high school background in which a lot of my friends were initially very liberal in rebellion to the mostly conservative population. In high school, I had many friends who became involved with the Constitution Team that participated in the national We the People competition, in which students debate constitutional issues. I was not on it because of conflicts, but having all these friends talking about the Constitution, we all started realizing there were so many things that the government should not be doing. After all this, I came to Case Western Reserve University and talked to YAL at the Student Activities Fair and got involved right away on the public relations committee.

GB: How do you think people at CWRU perceive YAL as an organization?

VG: I think it has changed in the time that I have been here. When I was first in it, we were considered a little crazy – the people heading it then were really rabble-rousers and had a lot up about Obama. That really stirred up people and they did not like it at all. The previous president really tried to tone things down, and I have tried to get things somewhere in between. I have tried to increase respect by having a lot of speakers to give us a more academic grounding. At the same time, I really want to kind of stir things up again – especially in an election year.

GB: How do you plan to approach 2012 as an organization?

VG: I would not say that I have exact plans about the election per se yet, but our main mission is really to educate. I really want people to realize the very real issues happening. My goal is to get people to look beyond the images and what they see on television or Facebook memes. I want students on this apathetic campus to think about the consequences some of the policies that have been enacted will directly have on them. Education is my main goal more than anything. Because the national YAL organization is a nonprofit, we cannot endorse any candidates, but we can certainly speak about policies if we want to. I would have no problem if someone wanted to talk about policy. Granted, on our own we certainly can endorse candidates, but not as an organization.

GB: If you had to pinpoint one issue that is the most important to you, what would it be?

VG: Overall, I would say fiscal issues are the most important to me, but that is very broad. Even when we are talking about things like the war on drugs, it has mainly to do with civil liberties, but a lot of it is fiscal as well. Without economic freedom, you cannot have social or political freedom. I tend to try to push a lot more fiscal logic, but when we do say social, we do not mean it the way some people mean social. We are not pushing certain agendas, either liberal or conservative, when we are talking about social issues. We just want to make sure that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are respected. Protecting liberties is the most important “social” cause; social agendas do not trump liberties, no matter how well intended. But at the end of the day, we do not just have one or two issues, we try to tackle various specific issues, all within the framework of advocating liberty.

GB: You mentioned that CWRU is an apathetic campus. Why is apathy such a bad thing in your opinion?

VG: I think that apathy is prevalent because most students are science majors, and they think that they are going to be in their own little world. I think a lot of people do not realize that this stuff seriously impacts them. This affects your life, and if you do not get involved, the people at the top can do whatever they want. And this is what is happening in our country, in my opinion. If people do not wake up soon, this is going to be a very different country in very little time. I see a lot of things going downhill, politicians are continuously trampling on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and most people are not getting upset or even aware of it. The youth is the future, and if we can get this generation to wake up and be aware of their government, we can get this country back on track.

GB: How do you face being a libertarian on a college campus?

VG: Part of it to me is exciting that we are small in numbers, but we can still make a big impact. It only takes a few hard working people to make a difference. I am confident that if we continue working, we will increase in numbers and get a great amount of students to recognize the importance of liberty and why they must fight to protect it.

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