Young Republicans at Berkeley:

Today's WSJ has a story (link for subscribers only) on how young Republicans are "flourishing at liberal Berkeley." According to the story, the College Republicans chapter is among the largest student groups on campus, with over 600 members. While liberals still outnumber conservatives by a large margin on the campus, the story claims, the young Republicans are more unified, while liberal students are splintered.

The growth of the Berkeley College Republicans at one of the nation's most liberal campuses echoes some broader political trends. At Berkeley, while leftist students still dominate and outnumber conservatives, the liberal groups have splintered and are now spread across factions from the Cal Democrats to the International Socialist Organization to groups formed to oppose the war in Iraq. At the same time, several faculty members say, there are more conservative-leaning students than in the past, propelled by swells of patriotic feeling after events like Sept. 11 and an increase in the number of religious student groups.

The modus operandi of the Berkeley Republicans over the past few years has been to be provocative. In 2003, its members opposed affirmative action with an "Affirmative Action Bake Sale," where students paid for pastries on a sliding scale: White students were charged more, while Hispanics and African-Americans paid less. Under Mr. Prendergast's presidency, the group this year protested the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, by giving away hot dogs and encouraging students to eat meat. Mr. Prendergast also held an "Anti Antiwar Rally" in nearby San Francisco, and staged a "Dunk a Republican" contest. The group gets several thousand dollars a year from the Berkeley student government. It also does its own fund raising and will sometimes get donations from local Republicans and others.

The story discusses the growth of the group, and closes with this cute anecdote from last year's annual student organization fair:
UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau walked by. When he saw President Reagan's cardboard figure, the chancellor chuckled and stopped to talk.

"I gave an interview to a British newspaper recently, and the journalist asked me about Berkeley's liberalism," said Mr. Birgeneau to the group. "I had to tell him that the largest student political group on campus is Republican. You should've seen him: He was so disappointed."