Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
Ron Paul Rides Massive Wave of Support at UCLA

Ron Paul spoke at UCLA on Wednesday evening. Though the event’s Facebook page went up only five days prior, a huge and enthusiastic crowd of UCLA students and supporters from various parts of Southern California brought the Tennis Center venue to maximum capacity. Fifteen minutes before the doors opened, the line for early seating wrapped fully around the Elvin C. Drake soccer field on campus.

According to the fire marshal, 5,500 people were allowed inside, and “well over a thousand huddled outside,” said Brian Doherty, senior editor of Reason. Most of them were ardent Ron Paul fans, eager to vocalize their support for his platform while condemning the platforms of other candidates. When he said he wanted to “end the wars and end them quickly,” the cheers from the crowd were deafening. Banners popped into the air and the bleachers lit up with thousands of beaming faces.

The enthusiasm of the crowd held weight and depth not seen at other Republican candidates’ rallies. Rick Santorum’s campaign event on Wednesday in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania drew a considerably smaller, quieter crowd. Meanwhile, forty-three minutes into Paul’s speech, thousands of students and supporters pounded on the barriers of the tennis court and chanted his name as loudly as if he had just stepped onto the stage.

Some came to show measured, rather than total, support. Mikey Singh, a student at UCLA, said he was a “big fan of Ron Paul and I would vote for him at the California primary if it were open,” but was not willing to switch his voter registration to Republican.

Still, volunteers for the Paul campaign managed to register at least 1,000 people as Republican voters on Wednesday. California’s closed primary is scheduled for June 5.

Talat Mirmalek, a junior at UCLA, was registered to vote, but hadn’t yet decided who she would vote for—or if she would vote at all. Though she doubted the efficacy of Paul’s domestic fiscal policy, she said, “His foreign policy is one that not that many take, though they should.” Based on recent threats of violence against Iran, she feared for the safety of her cousins in Tehran, whom she visits every summer. She said she believes that Ron Paul is the candidate capable of “real change—not Obama change. We don’t need that kind of change.”

Talat is one of likely thousands of Iranian-American students at UCLA, and Los Angeles is home to the largest population of Iranians outside Iran. Amir Zendehnam, is the Fundraising Chair for LA Liberty HQ, the unofficial grassroots organization for Ron Paul in California, and graduated from UCLA in 2010. He founded Iranian-Americans for Ron Paul 2012, another grassroots effort, with the aim “to get Iranians together for Ron Paul, because if they just knew him, they’d love him,” he said.

Partly due to Amir’s efforts, a great number of Iranians attended last night’s town hall, though many of them were suspicious of being quoted. Three men, all of whom refused to be identified, supported Ron Paul’s platform of non-interventionism, not out of concerns for their personal ties to Iran but simply because, as one of them said, “It makes sense. A war on Iran would not be for the benefit of the people…. Who gave the U.S. the right to police the world?”

When asked how he would feel in the event of war, another one said, “Not good. I’m friends with an Iraqi guy. How do you think he felt in 2003?”

Ron Paul invoked the Golden Rule as a guide to foreign policy, echoing a suggestion he made at the South Carolina Republican debate in January.

“Don’t do anything to any other country that you wouldn’t have them do to us,” Paul told the members of the crowd. They cheered so loudly that his voice was drowned out among theirs.

Fix Contributor Julie Ershadi is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.

Click here to Like The College Fix on Facebook.

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.