Conservative at Crystal

By the Editors ’19 

The Crystal community is generally known for being left-leaning. On a cultural level, Crystal students and student organizations strive for diversity, inclusivity, and celebration of different identities and backgrounds. And on a political level, students are known for being active in social movements such as the March for Our Lives, feminism, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. So what is it like for Crystal students who do not identify as liberal or Democratic at Crystal? The Gryphon Gazette editors set off to find out.

We interviewed about fifteen Crystal upper schoolers who identify as right-of-center. Starting late this month, we will publish bi-weekly columns which expand upon these experiences. Each edition will offer hot takes on a topic selected by the editors, with the goal of de-stigmatizing controversy and opening up productive, constructive discussion between students across the political spectrum.

We’ll kickstart our exploration with the question that concluded each of our interviews: “Can you summarize the experience of being conservative at Crystal in one sentence?”

Some students asked to stay anonymous, while others were eager to be mentioned by name. We will honor their preferences going forward. However, to convey the scope of the comments here—emphasizing their differences and overlaps as a group rather than introducing individuals—we have included only the graduation year of each student.

Look out for our bi-weekly columns on controversial social and political issues and more on the Crystal experience based on political views!

“Either be outwardly Democratic or don’t express your beliefs.” 2020

“It’s a lot of hiding, not sharing my true beliefs, being scared of what people might think or say. Sort of feeling ‘closeted’ and facing discrimination for my identity.” 2019

“I wish liberal students knew that I don’t hate immigrants or women or anything like that. I also am not a Trump supporter. For me being conservative is about preserving traditions and supporting small government and free trade.”

“There are a lot of preconceived notions about what being conservative means, but most Crystal students are very open to ideas if you can articulate them clearly. There’s always going to be stigma, but it can be healthy and productive—I think people should be able to accurately point out the flaws in other people’s arguments. As long as it doesn’t come from a place of ignorance.” 2020

“Not that big of a deal.” 2022

“It’s a big deal for me. Sometimes I’ll say something to one of my friends and they’ll say I’m an idiot.” 2022

“Kind of upsetting. I think the administration is far more liberal, or tries to be, than the students are. You can see this through the gender inclusion day (11th grade HD) and how Diversity Committee was assigned to talk about school spirit during our opening assembly.” 2019

“I wish there were more conservative faculty or an assembly where we had a conservative speaker. But it would be silly to hire teachers just based on political leanings.” 2019

“I’d say it’s annoying but manageable.” 2021

“Not ideal, but it’s not like it’s a deal breaker.” 2021

“We’re definitely part of the smaller population, but there’s a few of us that manage to get by. [laughter]” 2021

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