By Benjamin Rosenberg | Medill on the Hill
CHARLESTON, South Carolina — During his freshman year at The Citadel, Matthew Miller went to events with the College Republicans — because they were the only political activists on campus. Then he decided to create an alternative option.
The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, South Carolina, has long been a common stopping point for Republican presidential candidates and is considered one of the most conservative college campuses in the United States. But Miller felt the College Republicans did not align with his values, so he co-founded The Citadel’s College Democrats in October 2018.
“By the time senior year happened I had found my own voice and found there’s a large portion of students who do think alternatively to the Republican mantra,” Miller said. “They wanted to engage in a different level of conversation.”
The group had between five and 10 members at its founding, and by the end of the 2018-19 school year had an email list of 60 students. Miller graduated in 2019, but the chapter has remained strong, with current sophomores Ron Prince and Tyler Mitchell taking over as co-presidents.
Although The Citadel is overwhelmingly conservative, some of its most politically active alumni have been Democrats, including Fritz Hollings, a former South Carolina governor and U.S. senator, and Joe Riley, a former longtime mayor of Charleston.