Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 9, 2022

Hopkins Republicans pursue greater presence

By BEN KUPFERBERG | September 26, 2013

Being a member of a political organization at Hopkins can prove to be a daunting task, especially on a campus that many students peg as apolitical. However, the members of the Hopkins College Republicans are embracing the challenge and striving to spark political debate around the Homewood Campus.

As many witnessed last spring when Voice for Life, a pro-life undergraduate organization, garnered national media attention with its bid for school funding, Hopkins definitely has the potential to cultivate a thought-provoking political atmosphere.

“I believe that the best way to develop an argument and more importantly an opinion is to bounce it off of other people who are quick to find weaknesses in your claim,” Treasurer Hope Dancy said. “So being on a campus where people have some different views than I do is really great for that sort of argument development.”

President Christine McEvoy, Vice President Andrew Guernsey, Secretary Mary Katherine Atkins and Dancy comprise the Executive Board of the College Republicans. The College Republicans hosted and participated in a variety of events last year and plan on building up their presence around campus in the coming semester. The group was able to meet with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum after his Foreign Affairs Symposium talk and dine with Maryland Congressman Andy Harris and his wife. The club also co-hosted a talk given by former U.N. Ambassador Michael Novak. The College Republicans plan to boost their social media presence this fall as well, starting with the blog on their website.

“A lot of current on campus events that have to do with politics usually involve inviting a speaker to campus to stand at a podium and talk to students,” McEvoy said. “What we want to do is to give students — and any member of the Hopkins community that is — the opportunity to feel like they are a part of change by giving them more of a one-on-one experience rather than sitting and passively listening.”

The College Republicans hosted a debate with the College Democrats at the end of the spring semester, moderated by the JHU Politik, which covered the economy and fiscal policy as well as immigration and gun control policy. During a period of time on campus when Democrats and Republicans were at sharp odds over whether or not Voice for Life should have been allowed on campus, the debate was successful in provoking an intelligent discussion on policy.

“I am not so sure if students have an apathy towards politics or possibly an aversion to the rather ruthless and ill-mannered political arena that we hear of everyday. This is understandable, politics has become far too personal and aggressive. I hope that College Republicans, along with College Democrats, can create an environment here on campus where respectful and open discussion may take place,” Dancy said.

McEvoy made clear the importance of staying politically informed as a student.

“I feel like as Hopkins students, at such a prestigious University, it’s important for us to realize and understand what’s going on outside of the Hopkins bubble — despite how busy we might be with our own lives here — so that, when we do leave Hopkins and move on into the real world, we have a better idea as to how our skill set will fit into the bigger picture,” McEvoy said.

The College Republicans are trying to fight the perception that the political spectrum within their party is increasingly narrowing and moving to the right and argue that the variety of views in their club is much wider than the stereotype. The goal of their organization, they say, is to not only strengthen the views of their members but also to fully understand the views of others.

“One of the biggest struggles of being in a conservative club on a more liberal campus is being generalized and, in a way, stereotyped. There are a wide array of opinions that can be found within the Republican party, and even further, it is possible to have a few liberal positions but still feel, as a whole, Republican,” Dancy said.

Some of the College Republicans, however, embrace the role of being a conservative on a liberal-leaning college campus.

“Being conservative on a largely liberal campus brings with it the exhilaration that comes with fighting against the cultural tide, and of being the political elephant in the room, so to speak, quite literally for Republicans,” Guernsey said. “There is nothing more dangerous than someone who holds his opinions because he knows they are true, and not simply because they are popular. For conservatives, our strength lies in the power of our ideas.”

The stated goal of many political and current events focused organizations on campus is to create an environment where Hopkins students feel comfortable to respectfully debate their views with each other. The College Republicans plan on working closely with the College Democrats and other organizations around campus to achieve that goal. McEvoy and Dancy took on that goal personally when they attended the Democrats’ Welcome Back Barbeque on Sept. 13.

“We have a wonderful chance to show a friendliness between parties that is rarely seen, and well missed, in today’s major politics,” Dancy said.

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