Introducing Young Republicans Club


Sophomore, Emily Grice and Mr. Doll discuss the future plans of the Young Republicans Club during north time.

As of October 2017, 24 percent of the U.S. population identified as Republican, according to Gallup polling. As of October 2018, sophomore Emily Grice said that the Young Republicans Club she’s hoping to start at BVN is for 100 percent of the student body, no matter their political affiliation.

“A lot of people who aren’t Republican or conservative have reached out to me and been like, ‘Hey, I want to be a part of this, but I’m not Republican’ and I just want them to come anyway,” Grice said. “They’re welcome to come to a meeting and just see what’s happening.”

Grice said she was first inspired to start the club after the 2016  presidential election and the effect she saw it have on the school. She felt that all Republicans were being given a bad reputation on account of the words and actions of a select few, like alt-right hate groups, whom she believes don’t properly embody the values of her political party.

“Republicans are kind of viewed as the bad guys and I don’t necessarily think we are,” Grice said. “Everyone has different opinions and I want to bring back the idea that we aren’t worse or better, we just have different opinions.”

Neither Grice, nor many other students, were surprised by the positive welcome of the club by most students. Although the club has to yet to officially launch, there’s a willing sponsor and about 45 students interested in joining, according to the club form Grice wants to submit to the school board.

AP Human Geography teacher Ben Doll was approached by Grice to be the club’s sponsor. He believes having an outlet like the kind Young Republicans Club hopes to provide can be beneficial for students. He explained that he wants it to provide a forum where Republican students can discuss current political events with members of their own party, but also with students who identify with opposing parties or no party.

“[The club] should be something to cater to those with a little bit more conservative values and political leanings, but anyone who wants to participate is going to be welcome,” Doll said.

Doll believes he was asked to be the sponsor for a multitude of reasons. He has made it clear that his goal in his classes, when discussing current events or politics, is to appear neutral and not to influence students by sharing his political beliefs. However, he admits that he may have unintentionally given students a certain impression.

“I’ve always made a big point in my classes, and as a teacher, to not be really political on one side or the other,” Doll said. “Some students may have associated the way I portray and look at information with me being a conservative.”

Both Doll and Grice have prioritized making the club a welcoming place for people anywhere on the political spectrum. Doll said that he doesn’t want students who aren’t republicans to feel as if they aren’t permitted to attend meetings, or to think that they will be bashed at the meetings.

“What makes me nervous about the club is that it’s going to cause division in the school, instead of just having a place where certain students feel like they can share their opinions,” Doll said.

After it’s official, Grice hopes to make serious plans about the endeavors of the Young Republicans Club. Right now, she does have ideas about what she’d like to do to take action outside of school. If enough members show interest, Grice explained, she would like to take a serious initiative with Republican groups outside of BVN to support Republican candidates in government and to encourage other student Republicans to speak up.

“I don’t want to be just talking, or just debating, I want to be going out and doing stuff,” Grice said. “An outreach to the community, not just gathering and talking, hopefully we’d have guest speakers come in every once in awhile, like city hall speeches that involve people in the club.”

Everything is still in the works, as of right now, but Doll hopes to hit the ground running when the club is official and meetings are set. His only concern remains that some students will perceive the club as negative and hateful against opposing political parties, rather than a place for Republican students and all other students to discuss and learn from one another.

Grice reiterates this idea. She hopes that the students who have an interest in joining the club continue their support, and students who don’t see the club in such a positive light are willing to come to a meeting and see that it’s a place to learn, not a place to hate.

“Anyone is welcome to come to our meetings, or our events, whatever your views are, just come to see what’s up,” Grice said.