Op-Ed: Nasty Woman: Why This Republican is Swiping Left on Trump

Written by Cristina Stiller

Believe you me, it is a lonely road being a Republican at NYU Law.

There’s this party game—it’s like truth or dare, but without the dare—where a group of friends can ask you anything for two minutes and you have to answer every question truthfully. As you can imagine, the game almost immediately devolves into a series of increasingly intimate questions about your sex life. But when my friends found out I was a Republican? Well apparently, that’s even kinkier than that one time you tried a butt plug and liked it.

For two minutes, my friends drilled me on the intricacies of my political beliefs. Here’s the TL;DR results of that endeavor: I’m a fiscal Republican, in the purest sense of the word. I’m a big fan of keeping the federal government (and the states) out of my bed and out of my womb. And I fully support policies that ensure they stay out of everyone else’s as well. You could say I lean Libertarian (although I know where Aleppo is—shocking, but true). But I keep my Republican registration card because, well, primaries are a thing.

There aren’t many of us roaming the fabled halls of this venerated institution. But for those of you who want hard, quantitative facts, let me give you a totally statistically relevant, not-at-all anecdotal idea of the ratios we’re dealing with. Last year, Professor Nelson asked the roughly 100 kids in my Property class, “How many of you are Conservatives?” I was the only person to raise my hand. You can’t argue with the facts, people.

Now, maybe there were one or two closeted Republicans lurking in the back row. Or maybe, everyone knew that whoever raised their hand would be required to have their ass in the chair for the remainder of the semester, never to skip again, if only to defend the faith. But whatever the case, the number of us who would actually dare to mutter those three dirty words, “I’m a Republican,” are thin on the ground.

And this was all well before my party decided that now was as good a year as any to totally and completely botch the presidential election.

So let me tell you a little bit about my party’s candidate. He wants to ban me. If he can’t get away with that, he at least wants to register me. He’s probably not a big fan of my Hispanic mom. He’s certainly not a fan of the fact that we speak Spanish in these United States of America. Oh yeah, and he wants to grab my…

I’d comment on his fiscal policies, but to be honest I’m not really sure he has any. Before law school, I worked as the Communications Director of a hotly contested Congressional (yes Republican) campaign, so I like to consider myself generally abreast of these sorts of things. But when you pick through the “I’m very, very rich,” it’s hard to find much policy left.

Heck, I’d even comment on his social policies. But given that the Liberal Media and Crooked Hillary apparently keep twisting everything the Donald says—even if he’s said it on tape, because how reliable can that be, am I right?—well, it’s even hard to put a finger on what those social policies might be.

So while it’s safe to say that we don’t really know what my party’s candidate actually believes, what I do know is this: there is no choice to be made here. This is not a case of the lesser of two evils. Do I love Hillary Clinton? No. Am I chiming into the endless siren song of #imwithher that has overtaken each and every one of your NYU Law friends’ Facebook feeds? Hardly.

But I value living in a country where I’m represented by someone who is smarter than me; not someone who just says they’re smarter than me. I value living in a country where the person I nominate for president is someone who is intensely qualified for the job, even if she doesn’t agree with everything I believe. I value living in a country where I will be represented by someone who will fight to ensure that the freedoms I enjoy today will still be here come November 9th; not someone who will endeavor, as a matter of great pride, to set the clock back 50 years.

So let me be the first to say: my party fucked up. Royally. We’ve made a mockery of this election; we’ve made a mockery of this country. We have paraded a racist, bigoted, womanizing Oompa Loompa in front of televisions and newspaper reporters worldwide and we have said, “Look world: this is who we are and this is what we have become.”

But this is not who I am. And this is not what we have to become. That’s why I’m proudly supporting Hillary Clinton this election. She’s got my woman’s vote. She’s got my Muslim vote. She’s got my Latina vote. And she’s got my Republican vote.

Law Revue a Finalist in Above The Law Video Contest

Written by Cristina Stiller, News Editor

NYU Law Revue is a finalist for Above The Law’s annual Law Revue Video Contest, with its submission, “Trevor Effin’ Morrison,” a parody of “Alexander Hamilton” from the hit Broadway show Hamilton. As of Wednesday morning, their video was in third place, behind Northwestern University School of Law and the University of Texas School of Law.

Trevor Effin Morrison by NYU Law Revue

The video debuted two weeks ago at NYU Law Revue’s 42nd show, Catch Me if NYU Can, a parody of the film Catch Me if You Can.

Voting is open until Wednesday, April 27 at 11:59 p.m. Viewers can vote at Above The Law.

Editor’s Note: Cristina Stiller was part of the cast for Catch Me if NYU Can.


SBA Debate: Candidates Square Off on Eve of Election

Written by Cristina Stiller, News Editor, and Naeem Crawford-Muhammad, Editor-in-Chief

Last night, The Commentator hosted the first-annual Student Bar Association (SBA) Debate. Vice presidential candidates Samantha Coxe ’17 and George Harris ’18 opened the debate, followed by presidential candidates Evan Shepherd ’17 and Alexandra Serre ’17.

According to SBA rules, there are no formal joint tickets in elections. However, Mr. Shepherd and Ms. Coxe, after running on opposing tickets for social chair last spring, are running informally as a joint ticket this year. Ms. Serre and Mr. Harris, a first-time candidate for the SBA’s executive board, are doing the same. The debate was moderated by The Commentator’s Editor-in-Chief Naeem Crawford-Muhammad and News Editor Cristina Stiller.

All four candidates currently serve on the SBA. Ms. Serre has the most SBA experience among the group. She served as a class representative during her 1L year and is now the SBA treasurer, where she oversees the student government’s $200,000 budget. Mr. Harris is the only first-year law student among the top-tier candidates. He is the 1L representative for Section 4.

Mr. Shepherd and Ms. Coxe, both second-year law students, presently serve as the SBA’s social chairs. Overseeing campus-wide events like Bar Review, Fall Ball, and Spring Fling, social chair is arguably the most well-known of the SBA leadership roles. It is the only position, for example, that requires the office-holder to host weekly student events for the entire Law School.

It was clear from the opening statements that both sets of candidates were well-prepared. With several dozen people in attendance, including Dean of Students Jason Belk, the candidates offered detailed policy proposals for a range of student concerns.

Mr. Shepherd appeared the most comfortable in the debate format. Speaking often without notes, he repeatedly came from behind his podium to move closer to the audience when explaining his ideas. Ms. Serre, one of two Californians in the race (Ms. Coxe is from Los Angeles), kept a cool demeanor throughout, easily switching between diverse topic areas, such as tuition levels and the Law School’s alcohol policy.

In one exchange, Ms. Serre offered a passionate explication of the SBA Finance Committee’s work, which she heads, in setting student budgets for the 2015-2016 academic year. “I think all the student input we got [over the summer] was very important. No one was forcing them to [review budgets] over the summer,” said Ms. Serre.

Alternatively, much of Mr. Shepherd’s pitch revolved around his record as social chair, where he says he has kept five out of six campaign promises for diversifying social event locations and increasing inclusiveness and attendance. (The sixth promise, according to Mr. Shepherd, was fiscally unfeasible.)

While the candidates largely agreed with their opponents (all favor additional funding for student organizations and improving campus diversity and inclusion), there were some disagreements.

During the vice presidential debate, a student submitted an online question that asked whether the candidates would support placing standing desks in the library as part of a health-improvement initiative. Ms. Coxe, pointing to a study and student support for the move, suggested that standing desks could have potential health benefits. She said that she would support the addition of standing desks in the library.

Offering a different take, Mr. Harris cited a study that found no correlation between standing desks and improved health. However, Mr. Harris said that he was open to helping students identify more places to study while standing in the library, if there was sufficient demand.

Perhaps the most introspective question of the evening came via email from current SBA President Taaj Reaves ’16. Ms. Reaves asked the candidates for president to discuss a time when they “didn’t get it right this year on SBA,” and how they would recover and manage losses next year.

Ms. Serre reflected on a time during her term as treasurer when she funded an event retroactively, something the SBA typically doesn’t do, because she overlooked the date of the budget request. While she defended the expense as something that “should have been funded” on the merits, she said the error taught her to focus more closely on the minute details. And that, as president, she would be sure to stay on top on the small issues as well as the big picture.

Responding to the same question, Mr. Shepherd commented on an occasion where he elected to host a Bar Review at a venue discouraged by the Office of Student Affairs. Not fully appreciating the prescience of this advice, the event yielded avoidable logistical challenges. Mr. Shepherd said he learned to more readily rely on the experience of others in order to avoid mistakes. But, when mistakes are made, to take responsibility and never repeat them.

Asked for her thoughts following last night’s first-ever SBA debate, Ms. Coxe replied by email, saying, “The debate, hosted by The Commentator, is something that should happen every year. It is a great way for students to voice their opinions, to have candidates speak about the prevalent issues and concerns within the NYU Law community, and for the student body to become more informed about each candidate’s platform and vision. With an effort to increase attendance in the coming years, the debate should certainly be an annual tradition during election week!”

“The debate was an incredible event, thanks to everyone who came out and The Commentator for hosting—I hope after hearing our ideas, Sam and I have your vote,” said Mr. Shepherd.

In an emailed, joint statement from Ms. Serre and Mr. Harris, the candidates said, “We were glad to have the opportunity to highlight how we’ll serve the student body over the next year in a public forum like this! With [Ms. Serre’s] experience on SBA over the last two years, and George’s close connection with the Class of 2018, we think we can do a lot of great work for NYU Law students. We want to thank The Commentator again for all of the hard work behind the debate!”

Each candidate was allowed a two-minute opening statement. They were then presented with questions compiled by the editorial board of The Commentator, as well as questions submitted to The Commentator via social media, email, and an online survey. Candidates were not given the questions beforehand, but were notified of the general debate topics in an article posted to The Commentator’s website last week. Elections are today and tomorrow via online balloting.

Editor’s note: As a recognized student organization, The Commentator is funded by the Student Bar Association. Naeem Crawford-Muhammad is a current class representative and is running unopposed for Student Senator, an SBA executive board position.

SBA: Fall Ball to Be Moved Off-Campus

by Cristina Stiller, News Editor | Photo Credit: NYU Law Magazine

The Student Bar Association (SBA) has confirmed that this year’s Fall Ball will take place off of the New York University School of Law’s campus in October 2016. Although Fall Ball has historically been hosted in Vanderbilt Hall by the Office of Student Affairs, the SBA is in the process of reserving Terminal 5 for the event, according to an emailed statement from Evan Shepherd, SBA Social Chair.


Terminal 5 during a music concert. | Photo Credit: Tailbus.com


Located in Hell’s Kitchen, Terminal 5 is a large, music venue, which features five separate rooms and can accommodate up to 3,000 people, according to Gothamist.

Taking Fall Ball off-campus will likely mean significant changes for the event. For one, the off-campus move will mean local students will have to travel to 56th Street and 11th Avenue in Midtown to access the location. Currently, the SBA plans to arrange busing for students from campus to Terminal 5 on the night of the event.

Second-year law student Mark Sanchez ‘17, noted that while moving the event off-campus could potentially make it more enjoyable, losing the convenience of the Law School’s location was a disappointment. “While I would rather the event stay in the Law School and return to being open to all guests, if Fall Ball means having the side stairs blocked off and the building’s fluorescent lights turned on all night, perhaps moving the event to a location that was meant to host events like these is a good call.”

Perhaps the most sweeping change to previous years’ Fall Ball policies will be the likely relaxing of the current guest policy, according to the SBA. Fall Ball’s current guest policy limits the total number of guests admitted to Fall Ball to 200 guests total. Law students are required to enter into a lottery for the opportunity to bring a guest and lottery winners are limited to one non-transferable guest ticket.

While Mr. Shepherd noted that the guest policy will likely become more lenient, he posited that the Law School might impose a limit of up to three guests per student in order to ensure the event remains geared primarily toward to the Law School community.

The current Fall Ball guest policy was the result of several years of controversy surrounding the Law School’s annual party. In 2007, then-Assistant Dean of Students Yvette Bravo-Weber sent a memo to law students outlining changes to that year’s Spring Fling, the Spring-semester counterpart of Fall Ball.

The policy, which required all NYU Law students and their guests to present valid government-issued identification verifying their age in order to be granted admission to that year’s Spring Fling, emerged from several incidents that occurred during Fall Ball in 2006 and Spring Fling that previous semester. According to reporting from The Commentator and Above the Law, incidents back in 2007 included two student hospitalizations, property damage in Greenberg Lounge, several students becoming ill on campus and in campus housing, and the consumption of alcohol by underage guests.

In 2014, after again citing fire code restrictions, NYU Law School amended their Fall Ball policy to further limit guests. This led the Office of Student Affairs to create the current lottery system.