Loyola Classrooms and Clubs Engage in Political Discussion, Open Discourse

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Student clubs and classes such as the the Bipartisan Club, Young Conservatives Club and the AP US Government and Politics course allow students to discuss about politics without being inveighed against or judged for their opinions.

The Bipartisan Club, moderated by social sciences teacher Roger Stewart, allows students to debate different political topics in an inviting environment.

Stewart said, “We are always going to have political division and that’s okay.  What we try and do is have a healthy debate and a true understanding and appreciation for the other side.”

He reiterated the importance of becoming politically literate and noted how much more a politically intelligent student can succeed academically and socially on a college campus.

The Young Conservatives Club, moderated by social sciences teacher Levi Line, is another political club offered at Loyola. This club was founded to give students the opportunity to understand and discuss conservative ideals.

Secretary of the Young Conservatives Club Chris Pallares said, “Overall I think the political atmosphere in America has negatively affected us [the club]because we are extremely divided. But our club can contribute to the healing by allowing for civil discourse.”

The students expressed it is important to have an ideology-specific club, for the club does not increase division between students, but it provides a better understanding for opposing students to help bridge the political divide.

Pallares said, “At first I think people get the wrong impression because there are so many negative stereotypes for conservatives, but we’re trying to show people that we are fighting for the common good just like everyone else.”

The Young Conservative Club encourages people of different political and ideological beliefs to attend meetings.  The leaders of the Young Conservatives Club want to give the opportunity to those in disagreement to participate in discussion.”

Pallares said, “We will cover the issues. We definitely want people of opposing viewpoints to come to the meetings so we can have a civil discussion.”

Non-conservatives can also find value in the club because the open discussion lets all of the participants increase their understanding of politics and improve their ideas.

Pallares said, “I’d encourage everyone to come because the club is an amazing opportunity to learn about the issues, have discussions and improve your argument if you disagree or agree with us.  Our club can contribute to the healing [of the political atmosphere]by allowing for civil discourse.”

AP Government and Politics is a college-level course that can be taken senior year and taught by Stewart.  Stewart teaches AP Government and Politics primarily through current events to create class discussions.

PJ Schumacher ’16 said, “It’s the only class I took at Loyola that was a space for students to explore and examine their own political views in a non-judging way.”

All of the students are able to be comfortable with their views and talk about them with their fellow classmates. Stewart sets the ground rules on the first day of school so students know they will not be attacked for their views.

Schumacher said, “Coach Stew made me feel comfortable sharing my views from the first day of class.  There was never a point where I was worried about speaking openly politically.”

Stewart urges the importance of having civil discussion rather than putting down other people for  different political views, and that is what he wants students to take from the class.

Stewart said, “We discuss really sensitive issues, and we have some tense days.  All of that is fine, but they will not disagree and argue through calling people names or through dismissing the other side simply because they don’t agree with that side or believe what that person is saying.”

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