By Sara Kay
Senior Sean Nabi brings conservatism to a liberal campus.
Sean Nabi has accomplished more in his four years at Hofstra than many people do in half a lifetime. He is chairman of the College Republicans and editor-in-chief of Hofstra Freedom, a new conservation publication on campus, as well as chief justice of the judicial panel of the Student Government Association. Once a leader on the Men’s Rugby team, Nabi has gone on to become a leader in the conservative movement at Hofstra and across Long Island.
Q: How did you get so involved with politics here at Hofstra?
A: When I first came here I played rugby for two years. I got injured, broke my nose a bunch of times, got a lot of concussions and my parents said, ‘You need to step down.’ The moment I got into student government, things started falling into place; I became a senator in the spring of 2008, joined the College Republicans late last spring, became the chairman right away and took over the club. I got appointed to the judicial panel in October, became the Long Island chairman of the college republicans, Nassau County chairman of the College Republicans and I’m running for state chairman now. I spend a good 13 hours of the day at school with everything I do, while also taking 18 credits. I enjoy what I do, it’s so much fun.
Q: What do you think makes you a stand out person in political science?
A: I honestly think it’s the motivation and enthusiasm that I’ve brought to the conservative movement on campus. Before I got involved in it, there were one or two token Republicans in the department. The moment that I joined College Republicans, we grew. We grew right away to 40 members; we had 120 members at our meetings around the time of the debate. I became this face; people started calling me ‘Mr. Republican.’ I became the head of this movement, at a university like Hofstra which is a good 70 to 80 percent Democrat. I built this machine of republicans. We are putting out publications where the Democrats aren’t; we’re putting on events where the Democrats aren’t; we’re doing all these things to build up. Administrators ask me sometimes how many members we actually have — 500, 600? And when I tell them we have about 40 active, 120 registered, they can’t believe it.
Q: How were you involved in the debate? Was it fun?
A: One of the greatest moments of my life. Late August, I got a phone call from the McCain campaign, asking me if I wanted to start organizing in Nassau County. When we got back to school, I became the precinct captain of Hofstra. The debate rolled around and it was one of the biggest days of my life. I was in charge of about 300 volunteers for the campaign and for all the media coverage. By the end of the day I did about 110 interviews for hundreds of different countries. I even got an interview with an Iranian television network; my family in Iran saw me live on TV. The funny part about that is they never knew I was in politics, so to see me live on TV sort of scared them. It was a great experience; it opened up many doors for me.
Q: Do you consider the fact that you’re Persian an important factor in your decision-making in politics?
A: That’s a question I get a lot. I’m a local political commentator for Fox News of New York Saturday show and they ask me, ‘You’re Persian: how could you be a Republican?’ And what many people don’t know is that Persians in the United States are the wealthiest minority and about 95 percent Republican. I was born in this country, my parents immigrated to this country, and they taught me to love this country for what it’s worth. I’ve never lived a non-American life. Our family has dinner, sits in front of the TV and talks politics.
Q: You’re in the public eye a lot. Have you ever done anything embarrassing?
A: Last semester I had the opportunity to host a show on MTV. Sitting there in a sweater vest and a suit, in about 70 to 80 degree weather, sweating all over the place, having to read cue cards, messing up the cue cards, while there’s a crowd of 90 people behind me — I was frustrated sitting there and looking at people who are thinking, ‘This is boring; this sucks.’ I messed up my lines repeatedly. We had to do 22 takes.
Q: Would you consider yourself to be a pretty controversial person on this campus?
A: People like to think that we’re so controversial because we’re so far right; we’re a crazy, war-mongering, gun-having group… What I believe is what many Americans believe. Take a specific topic: the war in Iraq. Many people in this school want us to get out. I, on the other hand, understand the history of the country and I would like to think with reason that we can’t leave. Because my statement isn’t in tune with the majority, it’s controversial.
Q: Has anyone ever had a confrontation with you based on your beliefs?
A: No, and I attribute that to being larger than many people. I’ve heard people talking behind my back, shouting from distances…At the debates, I got all over world news because they video taped me at the debates screaming at the top of my lungs at other people about my beliefs. I’m not afraid to get in people’s faces, but for some reason people just never step up to the plate.
Q: What are your plans after college?
A: I’m looking at law school, but I have some life-long goals that I’ve set for myself. I do want to run for office. I love talking in front of people, I make it a point to talk to anyone at any time and to find out their life story and to find out what their needs and wants are. That’s made me want to run. Law school is something I want to do – to go into corporate law maybe — anything to get me from here to a time where I feel I am ready to be able to run for office, to stand in front of a state or district and say, ‘I’ve done all these things in my life and I’m ready to lead you.’ I’ve never left myself closed to options. Anything’s a possibility..