Post-inauguration, student leaders continue to express the importance of discourse on campus


Issue 3 of The Hill News discussed the political climate at Hill before the impending election.

As political diverging opinions divide the nation even after the inauguration, the United States of America looks to the future in hopes of a country that not only has different opinions, as that is what democracy is built off of but also one that respects the views of others. After the recent inauguration of President Joe Biden, this is an opportunity for change and renewal.

The Hill School population, without a dominant majority political view, has begun promoting respectful political discussion throughout the election season, one that allows students and faculty alike to listen and understand one another. Andrew Chirieleison ’21, SGA co-president, understands the importance of discussion to keep the Hill community together.

“Hill is fostering effective political discussions to ensure that division does not occur on campus by providing our students spaces to have open conversations and practice civil discourse,” said Chirieleison. He expressed that it is especially important to foster respectful discourse amidst the recent political riots and movements.

“During times of political controversy, it is crucial that people have opportunities to engage in difficult conversations, especially during an election process like the one that preceded and accompanied the confirmation of [then] President-Elect Joe Biden,” said Chirieleison.

Chirieleison understands the importance of student-led organizations in this process to create respectful discourse. “The Hill News‘ Instagram account and their articles are a great example of how students with varying political beliefs can voice their opinions in a safe space,” said Chirieleison. 

Gavin Guerette ’21, president of the Young Democratic Socialists Club, also finds discourse among students necessary. “I think that Hill’s best method of fostering political discussion on campus is leaving it up to the students…I feel that leaving political discussions up to the students on both a small and large scale is an excellent way to ensure that students can share their beliefs and feel comfortable defending them as well,” he said.

However, these student leaders know that Hill is not perfect, and that includes its political discussion and action. “Our community, along with the rest of the nation, can always improve upon empathetically listening to the political beliefs of others,” says Chirieleison. Guerrette suggests a zero-tolerance approach to improving Hill’s political discourse. “The only instance where I believe The Hill School can improve is by not tolerating harmful or inflammatory political rhetoric… any lingering notions of a stolen or fraudulent election are merely the remnants of a dying threat to our democracy and have no place at dear old Hill,” said Guerette. 

Sasjha Mayfield ’21, SGA co-president, believes that Hill students must learn to defend and support their opinions, while also being comfortable to do so. 

“There are two main areas of improvement I think are important for Hill in this regard. The first is teaching students to be able to defend their political opinions… [the second]: We need to do a better job making all students feel comfortable enough to share what they believe and not feel afraid that they may be putting their reputation on the line by doing so,” explained Mayfield.At the end of the day, one idea is agreed upon by all of these leaders, despite their differences in party or position: political discussion is crucial to democracy. Biden, during his inauguration speech and candidacy, emphasized the country’s need for unity and empathy among all. At Hill, the advocacy for respectful political discourse has bloomed, however, whether it’s through time, or a more concrete approach such as the one Guerette suggested, these leaders emphasize that political discussions need to continue to ameliorate at Hill, where Whatsoever things are True.