Chapman Republicans elect female president for academic year

Chapman Republicans was founded by alumna Danielle Panno in 2013. Newly elected president Taylor Duncker seeks to carry on her legacy as the second female president of the club. Photo by Mia Fortunado, staff photographer

The fall semester has brought new leaders to clubs and organizations, including Taylor Duncker, who was elected as the second female president of Chapman Republicans.

“(Taylor’s election) is no different than if it was a man,” said Preston Coolidge, the organization’s ambassador and a junior computer science major. “Our primary concern is that we have the best person for the job and Taylor is the best person for the job.”

Duncker – a senior business major – proudly credited alumna Danielle Panno as the founder and first president of Chapman Republicans in 2013. Despite some republican misinformation, she said, the club reacted very positively to her election.

“I almost get a sense that women might not want to join based on stereotypes and assumptions of the club,” Duncker said. “Hopefully, my presidency will put that to rest.”

One of the club’s most popular events is the Political Student Organizations Debate held by Chapman’s Civic Engagement Initiative. The group has also brought guest speakers to campus like Larry Elder, which prompted the interest of over 150 attendees last spring. Chapman Republicans will also be tabling Sept. 4 at the Student Engagement Fair in Attallah Piazza.

“I’d like to see us be unafraid and believe what we want to believe in,” Duncker said. “I want to see the club be more outspoken and take pride in being republican.”

When asked who her political role models are, Duncker referenced Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), conservative activist Candace Owens and former president Ronald Reagan. The traits that these three individuals share, according to Duncker, is their outspokenness and fearlessness to express their beliefs. She also added that Donald Trump fits this description.

“Most people think republican men see women as lesser than,” Duncker said. “In my experience, that’s not true and it’s not what our club on campus stands for.”

Coolidge highlighted why female leadership is important.

“Half the voting population is female,” Coolidge said. “The idea that none of them are going to have leadership roles is ridiculous.”

Duncker’s stance on gender equality and feminism highlights the importance of representation in political leadership and her identification as pro-women, she said.

“It’s hard to identify as a feminist because of the way that (feminists) have become,” Duncker said. “There are some protests that they have done that I don’t agree with.” Duncker’s concerns lie with the messages of third-wave feminism and how the word ‘feminist’ has become a loaded term, she said.

“There are currently 40 to 50 who pay dues as members,” Duncker said. But the club has approximately 250 students on their mailing list. Meetings, according to Duncker, consist of the discussion around pressing issues in the news. “We leave the floor open for discussion because not all of us agree on everything,” she said.

Duncker seeks to accomplish several goals this academic year, like bringing another guest speaker and diversifying the members of the organization. “I hope it encourages more women to get involved in politics,” Duncker said. “Our club is predominantly males, so hopefully we will see more girls join this year.”