Conservatives aim for a safe space

Club leaders hope liberals will attend and join conversation


Lily Vag-Urminsky

RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION. Freshmen Ben Meyer and Michelle Tkachenko-Weaver listen to a member of U-High Conservatives share their thoughts on gender fluidity. U-High Conservatives is a new club this year and was founded by Michelle.

Priyanka Shrijay, Opinion Editor

At the beginning of this school year, freshman Michelle Tkachenko-Weaver looked through her Snapchat and found it flooded with hateful comments from shocked students who found out she was pro-life. Drowning in a sea of liberal students whose opinions formed a united front against her own, she felt compelled to find students who shared her beliefs.

She knew then that it was time to start U-High Conservatives, a club intended as a safe discussion space for conservative students.

Show up to our meetings if you’re really curious. Don’t just group us under some kind of category that you came up with in your head.”

— Ben Meyer, freshman

Freshman Ben Meyer, another co-founder, felt there was not a platform for students with conservative political beliefs to voice their opinions.

“There’s not really a safety net for people who think like us to go to if they feel like they’re being ostracized for how they think or that there might be social repercussions for how they think,” he said. “We wanted to create that platform, that safety net.”

Michelle wants to bring new ideas to the community of mostly liberal students.

“They mostly talk to people who agree with them,” she said, “so it might be beneficial to both sides to be able to talk to somebody they disagree with.”

The new club has caused some liberal students to express concern about what beliefs its members may be espousing. Ben explained there are major fundamental differences between the U-High Conservatives and hate groups.

Ben drew a sharp line between the new club and national groups such as Neo-Nazis that have supported conservative political candidates or ideas. Ben said the U-High Conservatives support traditional conservative principles such as small government and capitalism.

With regard to liberal student concern, Michelle stressed that they are in no way supportive of homophobia or white supremacy. She detailed that it is important to the club that the student body realizes that they are not a hate group but a group of political conservative students.

They also strongly encouraged curious students to attend club meetings on Fridays at lunch in C-404.

“If you want to know what we believe in — because we do believe in more than just small government and capitalism — show up to our meetings,” Ben said. “Show up to our meetings if you’re really curious. Don’t just group us under some kind of category that you came up with in your head, because I can guarantee you that there are some things we’re going to disagree on socially. So show up and talk to us and find out what we believe instead of sort of putting a label on us.”