For the first time since 2016, the Kenyon Republicans student organizations is returning to campus. Student Council unanimously approved the revival of the club in a meeting on Sunday night.
Club president Nat Henry ’20 hopes that the group will serve as a venue for civil discussion of Republican values. Next year he plans to host speakers, watch debates, hold fundraisers and collaborate with the Kenyon Democrats.
“There should be a club like this already, but everyone’s afraid to be made fun of or hated on … but I really don’t care what people think,” said Henry. “This is just a place to talk about politics and the right side [of the political spectrum], which wasn’t happening here.”
An interest meeting in Peirce Pub on April 9 drew about 15 students, and Henry says more than 30 people have expressed an interest in joining the club.
Luke Mukai ’19, who was the secretary of the old Kenyon Republicans club, was surprised at the size of the crowd. According to him, the former group totaled six members before President Donald Trump’s election. Mukai blamed the organization’s breakup on Trump.
“I don’t want it to be Trump club,” Henry said of the group’s revival. “I don’t want it to be a club for fighting and arguing. That’s not reasonable … I don’t want to piss people off.”
Henry emphasized that people of any political affiliation may come to club meetings as long as their behavior is respectful. Many students who attended the interest meeting said that they were looking forward to hearing diverse opinions.
Henry cited an ongoing Niche.com poll in which 75 percent of Kenyon students described the campus as politically liberal. A further 19 percent of students described it as “Progressive/very liberal” and six percent chose “Moderate.” Sixty-four percent of students associated themselves with the Democratic party.
“A real problem at Kenyon is that there is no dialogue,” Henry said. “People here obviously don’t see a lot of Republicans in a positive light. I think it’s because they don’t know [that] people they already know are Republican, or they just don’t know any. If you don’t have contact with people with other beliefs, [then] it’s going to be misconstrued what they’re actually like.”
The organization plans to hold its first official meeting before the end of the semester. At the meeting, students will review the club’s constitution and discuss ideas for the future. All are welcome to attend.