Red Alert

New club aims to give conservative students a voice


Michael Brandt '17

Members of the club participate in a mock caucus.

Sprawled across a lunchroom table are different red and blue flyers supporting senator Mark Kirk and other Republican candidates and conservative policies, setting the stage for the arrival of the Jones Republican Club.

Ben Keeler ‘18 helped establish the club to create “a platform for right-leaning moderate students, even far right students, to voice their opinion without being attacked.”

Students have joined in order to participate in this platform after personal difficulty in expressing their opinions in class.

“You can’t really talk in class about your opinion,” said club secretary Kelli Gujral ‘19. “It’s really hard for me actually, I don’t really like to talk about politics in class anymore.”.

The belief that Jones could not have clubs affiliated with political parties,  proved to be false when High School Democrats of America was created last year.

“When I came here nine years ago, I noted that [no political clubs] was one of the rules for CPS. You could not have an affiliate of a Democratic, Republican or political party,” said Principal P. Joseph Powers. “ I thought that was odd because to me that’s a pretty fundamental political right. [The policy] changed somewhere over the years and now they are [allowed].”.

Students and teachers agree that the addition of the Jones Republicans is a positive addition to the Jones culture and community.

“I think that political dialogue is important, and in a city as big as ours there are a lot of different ideas floating around,” said social studies teacher Michael Borge, the club’s sponsor, “it’s good for [students] to realize that their ideas don’t exist in isolation,”.

Jones Republicans has faced backlash with an array of insults thrown at them- literally. At club fair, a crumpled piece of paper depicting Kirk as the devil with “Ben Sucks” written boldly across the flyer,  was thrown at their table. The “Ben Sucks” (in reference to club founder Keeler) flyer is now hanging on the “Wall of Shame” in the Kirk’s Lincoln Park campaign office. Verbal insults are also common with Jones Republicans being referred to as;“KKK club” and “a club full of racists,”.

“There are definitely sour faces, but I remind them of the importance of intellectual diversity,” said David Gonzalez ‘18. “I feel like this is a voice for political minorities, especially at this school since we’re in the belly of the beast,”.

The presence of insults has not dampered the Jones Republicans.The club continues to grow with a planned a fundraiser for The Wounded Warrior Project and a phone bank where they will call people in support for Kirk. Most importantly, the club hopes to dispel negative myths about Republicans.

“We’re also trying to get rid of the myth that the Republican Party is just a bunch of old racist white guys, we’re a little more diverse in opinion, culture and gender than what [Jones students] think,” said Keeler.