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January 30, 2015

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College Republicans at UNLV peck away at Dina Titus

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Dina Titus lost her run for the state's 3rd Congressional District by less than 2,000 votes to Joe Heck.

Beyond the Sun

At UNLV it sometimes seems as if November’s race for the state’s 3rd Congressional District never ended.

Within weeks of Republican Joe Heck’s narrow victory over Democratic incumbent Rep. Dina Titus, UNLV College Republicans launched a vicious campaign against Titus, who returned to teaching at the university.

The group, which is heavily staffed by former Heck employees, sends out emails blasting Titus to a list of 500 followers. (One recent headline: “UNLV pays Dina Titus to stay relevant until she runs again.”) They have set up an anti-Titus website, And they have criticized her course load and campus radio show.

The attacks began in earnest in January, when Mark Ciavola, a former employee of Heck’s and the Republican National Committee, was elected head of the College Republicans.

Ciavola, 36, is a seasoned political activist who acknowledges he’s “not a 19-year-old trying to juggle schoolwork and this with no political experience.”

Indeed, it’s the group’s persistent pursuit of Titus and professional prowess that has made the attacks stand out.

Like many in Nevada political circles, the College Republicans expect Titus to run in 2012. And Ciavola knows a campaign can never start too early. But he insists his group isn’t focusing exclusively on Titus.

“Dina Titus isn’t the problem, she’s a symptom of the problem, which is how UNLV spends money,” he said, describing administrators as hypocritical for paying Titus almost $108,000 to teach one class while crying poverty and threatening to cut classes and raise tuition.

Although other UNLV professors have similar workloads and salaries, the College Republicans have singled out Titus. The political calculus is obvious, especially given that all but one of the group’s executive board members worked on Heck’s campaign.

“There’s a connection there,” Titus said. “I think they see me as a potential opponent, that’s why they are continuing to do this. What disturbs me is I’m not a candidate. I’m not an elected official. I’m a faculty member.”

Both Ciavola and a Heck spokesman said the congressman is not involved with the College Republicans.

Although her political ambitions are clear, Titus has not declared candidacy for public office.

Titus accuses the College Republicans of using her to get attention, and to a certain extent she’s right. One of Ciavola’s stated goals is to raise the group’s profile.

Among its repeated complaints is that Titus is using university resources to campaign or maintain her visibility as she ponders another race.

The same could be said of the College Republicans, which use campus resources to bash Titus and help Heck or any other would-be GOP opponent. The group holds meetings and demonstrations on campus and uses space in the Student Union to recruit members. Titus said members have come to her office several times to “harass” her.

The College Republicans are funded primarily with private donations. Financial records were unavailable.

Such groups began forming on university campuses in 1892 as official branches of the Republican National Committee but have since morphed into independent political organizations. They serve as a farm team for the national committee. Alumni who have gone on to influential GOP roles are numerous: political strategist and George W. Bush senior adviser Karl Rove, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, political strategist Lee Atwater, President Calvin Coolidge, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Hillary Clinton served as president of the Wellesley College Republicans before switching party affiliation.

Ciavola, a former restaurant manager and sophomore political science major, said he’s unsure what path he’ll pursue after graduation.

If Titus runs for office, it’s a near certainty the College Republicans’ attacks will be used against her.

The College Republicans have been the only voice raising concerns about Titus’ job and salary. Although Ciavola floods in-boxes with emails and mans a campus information booth daily, Clark County and state Republican parties have stayed silent.

But some conservatives say that is more a sign of the party’s dysfunction than any indifference on the topic.

If Ciavola “wasn’t bringing these issues to the forefront, they probably wouldn’t come up,” said Chuck Muth, a Republican operative whose nonprofit group Citizen Outreach named Ciavola one of Nevada’s top 10 conservatives of 2010. “The College Republicans are doing more than the actual official party is.”

That could be a good thing for any Republican who runs against Titus.

“Our team will certainly talk about these issues” in a campaign, Muth said. “That’s politics.”

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  1. So what is Titus teaching to receive $108,000 for teaching one class at this time of financial cost cutting for the University of Nevada System? If others are receiving similar amounts, then one needs to know whether these instructors/professors are carrying out other research at the university to justify their salaries or these people are just with it; with the old boys/girls network?

  2. Joe Heck hasn't authored a single bill or program to create jobs - this is what the College Republicans want to hide with a barrage of propaganda.

  3. "Mark Ciavola, 36, is a seasoned political activist, a former employee of Heck's and the Republican National Committee, was elected head of the College Republicans."

    This is a "College Republican"? Just another "College Type" trying to get through school and get a job?

    This is more like a devotee of the Joseph Goebbels style of journalism - pure spin and propaganda. College Republicans are paid by hidden sponsors.

  4. If UNLV can afford to pay the useless Titus then they can afford to take the cuts in the offing and shut up.

  5. Seems like a fair article with the underbellies of both sides exposed.

    Without more facts it would seem that Titus is overpaid. Of course her worth to the college is more than just one class. The question is whether it's worth more to the taxpayer in a time when 108,000 is tough to come up with for just one salary.

    One of the problems nationally is profs who barely teach if at all, using MA, MS and Phd candidates to lecture in their stead while supposedly doing research, often done by students also.

    Gives them time to write books, sit on paid boards and other pursuits, too many of which take away time from their primary responsibilities while earning outside incomes.

  6. Oh, the poor carpet-bagging cracker! How unfortunate she has to go through such trauma! Of course, when the fellow travelers vilify, demean and openly harrass Republicrat women like Condi Rice, Palin & Bauchmann, well, they're fair game. But the poor carpet-bagger, well, she's so delicate and so fragile, she can't handle the crticism!

  7. LVfacts, do you mind answering a question? How long have you lived in Las Vegas?

  8. I have to agree with the over age Republican propagandist, $108,000 in salary for one class. That's not right, when adjuncts receive about $4,000 for teaching the same class, and T.A.s are paid nothing. No one full time professor is worth that. Perhaps while she was a member of the legislature she was of value as an insider who could lobby for UNLV.

  9. No one seems to characterize this harridan as a prodigious Leftist.

    Her arrogance covers her rabble-rousing of leftist labor unions and other squeeze plays against the productive MIDDLE CLASS.

    She is an adept tactician of the "Pressure from above and below" strategy of Karl Marx.

  10. I'm with C_Bess.

    I bet dirt can easily be uncovered on this College Republicans thing. Easily. Because those that like to fling mud usually scrape the mud off of themselves to use.

    It all seems funny the name of this thing. It seems like the head guy has nothing to do with college, but he sure likes to jump on the Republican/Tea Party strategy of fighting very, very hard by going into an attack mode. They want to help the Republicans in their regular attack. The very apparent thing is they go nothing to work with, nothing to they resort to mud slinging, name calling, hate politics, and any other thing that don't rely upon a single damn thing that will help Nevada...nor America.

    But that's okay.

    They can do their thing.

    Because we're cleaning up Nevada.

    My Congressman (Heck), in only the short time he has had in office, has proven time and time and time and time again he works for Speaker Boehner. Not Nevada. He is only interested in himself, money, and party politics. I am simply amazed that idiot is a doctor and he votes against the Affordable Care Act and wants it defunded. And, of course, just like all the other brain dead Republicans in Congress, he has absolutely no clue what to replace it with other than to go back to the health insurance companies victimizing the entire populace of Nevada.

    I swear Congressman Heck needs to throw all those medical diplomas in the dipsy dumpster. He's no longer a doctor and clearly don't act like one. He's a heartless, uncaring and ruthless Republican. Just like all them others.

    Heck is gone. He's not going to last. Especially with his voting record.

    Someone mentioned jobs before. The word jobs and Congressman Heck don't go together. I would dare say he has helped contribute to a negative job growth in his district here in Las Vegas. Heck is a hack. Just another political windbag opportunist.

  11. "Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little
    Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more"

  12. So, Ciovola has abandoned Right Pride (gay conservative group) to become a 36 year old college sophomore?

  13. How dare anyone say negative things about Democrats, the LVSun and it's "journalists" will not stand for that.

  14. $108,000...
    Those of you that think this is some "obscene" amount of money, #1, need to GET A CLUE. Please. GET A CLUE. For your own sake, GET A FREAKING CLUE.

    Those of you that think Dina Titus is being paid to "teach one class", again, PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR!
    Either admit you are being disingenuous, or GET A FREAKING CLUE!

    Those of you who think that Mark Ciavola, a 36 year-old political activist, is representative of ANYTHING RESEMBLING THE AVERAGE UNLV STUDENT, or that he has the following of more than a smattering of students, (more representative of a Witches Coven, which is 13) PLEASE GET YOURSELF A CLUE.

    Anyone who thinks that Dina Titus is not A TRUE CHAMPION OF ACADEMIA, and who can't unnerstand that she is GREAT FOR UNLV, and worth every penny of the $108,000 annual salary, and further, that she has EARNED HER POSITION...


    "College student" and "Republican" are mutually exclusive.
    I would suggest the so-called 36 year-old student activist
    find some grown-ups to pal around with.

  15. I see that unqualified arrogance expressed as misplaced condescension is still front and center in the progressive modus operandi.

  16. Someone just name the last time Dina Titus held a job that wasn't paid for with taxpayer money?

  17. C_Bess states: "We'll also follow the money - since with you right wingers that's what it's always about."


    That is exactly the case. Right wing nutnoids don't do anything unless they get paid. And ultimately, to them, money is far, far more important than the agenda.

    And after this lame Citizens United ruling, we see nothing but attack by the Republicans. Not only from organizations, but from the Republicans who are in power as evidenced by trying to influence the vote in approximately eight (at least) States right now by trying to institute laws to require voter IDs...a clear method to try to get students not to vote at all...that's EXACTLY who they are targeting. Not to mention that Republicans in State Governments are doing their damndest to destroy any organization they feel will collect money to use against them.

    The politics of hate and selectivity by the Republican Party is becoming more and more clearer to everyone all over the U.S. From the Great Republican Party State Union Busting Over Reach Policy all the way down to a 36 year old hobnobbing with college students to turn them into brainless Republicans, it's all readily apparaent.

    But the truth cannot be hidden. This deflection of continually pointing at how much Professor Titus is paid fits an agenda. The truth of the matter is that Representative Titus served her constituents well when she served as Congresswoman. I was totally pleased with her efforts.

    My current Congressman is a hack, only in it for himself. He has dismantled all the work Representative Titus did to take calls and help people who were facing home/business foreclosures, doing her best to try to assist. All that is gone. Because Heck is an idiot and has changed into a ruthless, heartless politician.

    And he knows it. He only does telephone town hall meetings. Nothing face to face. And when he does face to face town hall meetings, it is NEVER in eastern Las Vegas. He avoids us like the plague. He is afraid of his constituents.

    He instead has immersed himself into party politics. So much so, that if Speaker of the House Boehner were to suddenly turn around abruptly, it would break Representative Heck's nose.

    I can't wait for 2012. Because right now, the Republican Party's idiotic policies of corporate welfare and over reaching mixed with hate and manipulation, they are the best thing to use against....themselves.

    Republicans care about nothing but themselves. And this 36 year old dude at UNLV is out there right now trying to influence people to hate, getting their attention directed at something else...something else other than their inadequacies. I just hope those college students do research on their own. Because it would easily reveal what a fraud the College Republicans are.