GREENSBORO, N.C. — While the issue of gerrymandering isn’t new to this country or our state, redrawing lines that create a split within a university is something Dr. Brandon Lenoir, with High Point University, said is certainly unusual.
“There’s two philosophies when it comes to gerrymandering. There’s what we call packaging and there’s what we call cracking,” Lenoir said. “Cracking is you go in and you draw lines between them to where you split their size into smaller pieces to where they have less of an impact in four separate or two separate, in this case, congressional districts. So you’re basically watering down their influence.”
Senior Braxton Brewington is one of several students are heavily involved with educating students on where to vote according to which side of campus they reside.
Laurel Street splits the university between District 6, currently led by Representative Mark Walker, and District 13, currently led by Ted Budd.
“What’s amazing is that students get to choose and what’s unfortunate about this gerrymandering is that they didn’t choose to have their voice diluted it was forced,” Brewington said.
Brewington became active in the election following a fellowship with Common Cause NC — the same organization that filed that lawsuit against gerrymandering.
“Myself and others, particularly student government, have been working with university administration to really embed civic engagement into campus infrastructure so that it doesn’t take individuals to do this work,” Brewington said.
Lenoir said that the courts will likely decide on the motivation of Republican Party to redraw the district lines but the decision won’t take place until after the midterm election.
“It was after the primaries that the main arguments had been filed,” Lenoir explained. “If they had decided to say you need to go back and redraw the districts that would draw into question the validity of the primaries to begin with and they would have potentially not have any representation in Congress because it would have taken us beyond the actual Election Day to resolve all of this.”
Senior Nikolaus Knight believes there is a simple solution rather than the majority having the power to redraw district lines.
“If the maps were drawn by a nonpartisan body we wouldn’t be seeing people trying to take partisan advantage,” Knight said.