BYU-Idaho, in an attempt to maintain political neutrality, has decided to dissolve student political groups for the Republican and Democrat parties. You can read more here. If you would like some history on the on-and-off formation and dissolution of these groups, plus some on-campus reaction, I can recommend this article here.
It seems pretty clear that the BYU campus were concerned about the perception that the Idaho campus is heavily Republican. The college Democrats were not prospering. And the Church is very concerned about remaining politically neutral, but dissolving the student groups seems to me, at first glance, to be a huge mistake.
1)BYU Provo and BYU Hawaii still have student political groups. Why not in Rexburg?
2)Everybody in the world is concerned about student political apathy. On-campus political groups directly address that and promote interest in politics, which the Church, by the way, encourages from the pulpit during every election cycle. Dissolving student political groups sends exactly the wrong message to young people, it seems to me.
3)Nearly every other campus in the country is heavily leftist or Democratic. What’s wrong with having a small group that leans the other way politically? The dissolution of these groups seems to send exactly the wrong message to young people: it’s OK to be politically active if you are left-of-center but it’s not OK if you dare to be right-of-center.
Having said all this, I want to make it very clear: the Church’s political neutrality policy is sacred to me personally, and I support it completely. When people discuss politics at Church, the Spirit seems to escape from the room. Church and politics should not mix.
But there is nothing wrong with attending a political meeting during the week completely separate from your Church meetings. And, in fact, the Church heavily promotes people being involved with their local communities and in politics. I cannot see why the same policy cannot apply at BYU-Idaho — political groups should be able to meet and organize, but separate from other student activities.
Perhaps I am missing something.