Gray Party to Host Forum on U.S. Immigration Policy

History Department Chair Bart McMann and students representing the school’s Gray Party will facilitate a Better Angels debate, “The Future of U.S. Immigration Policy,” on Thursday, January 23 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. at the Gunn Memorial Library, 5 Wykeham Road, Washington.
Participants are invited “to explore and share views on the political realities surrounding one ofhte country’s most pressing and divisive issues,” the library said in a press release. “America’s immigration policies continue to change over time. Issues that frame such policy include the immigrant’s role in the labor force, rates of immigration to the U.S., and most recently, concerns about terrorism. The main question to consider is the fairness of these policies in terms of their consideration of immigrants and benefits to the United States.” 

The student-led Gray Party was established several years ago by Anthony Cochrane ’18, a Republican, and Mark Choi ’18, a Democrat, with the goal of increasing civic engagement and helping students navigate the middle ground. Gunnery students have committed to carrying on the work they started, by organizing voter registration drives, attending state and local political forums, and sharing their views in ways that encourage respectful political dialogue and minimize divisiveness.

Previously, the Gray Party hosted two workshops on campus led by local representatives of Better Angels, a national, bipartisan citizens movement working to reduce political polarization and foster respectful discourse across political differences. In the October 2018 workshop, students discussed political stereotypes in relation to issues such as government and tax reform, gun rights and gun control, abortion, immigration, healthcare, education and equality. A second workshop, held in January 2019, included a “fishbowl exercise,” which encouraged students to listen to opposing viewpoints, think about what they heard, and look for common ground.

The debate on immigration policy will be held in the Gunn library’s Wykeham Room. The snow date is Thursday, January 30 at 6 p.m. To register, contact Margaret Ferguson at (860) 868-7586 or email

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Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.