Student governments are still getting away with denying conservative groups based on ideology
- The student government at Worcester State University denied student organization recognition to a conservative club.
- The denial cited the opinions of the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League about well-known conservative student organization Turning Point USA.
Another conservative student group has been denied recognition on a Massachusetts campus amid concerns of “racism.”
Worcester State University’s Student Government Association denied students’ requests to start a Turning Point USA chapter on campus. The 10-2 vote against recognizing TPUSA as a student organization was defended by the Student Government Association, citing concerns regarding the TPUSA having a “negative impact on campus climate.”
TPUSA was denied status as an official club on campus, despite the school having approved student organizations such as the Socialist Alternative, a club described one that “organizes concerts for the betterment of the student body and community and educates others through political discussion.”
The Student Government Association at Worcester State University notified students Alvin Marchena and Tony Winship that their request to begin a TPUSA chapter as a student organization on their campus had been denied. The SGA email notified the students that the denial was due in part to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League labeling TPUSA as a hate group.
This decision came after Marchena and Winship stood before the SGA to propose that TPUSA be recognized as a student organization on their campus. This meeting in late February included an hour of questioning of Marchena and Winship by the SGA as to why the SGA should approve their request.
“I’m not saying it’s not going to happen, I’m just saying that bringing you here and accepting you here, I feel like it’s going to open it up to more people to be like we’re okay with bringing this organization with all these controversies…” one student senator said, according to meeting minutes obtained by Campus Reform.
“I don’t want to use the example of our President because it’s very controversial… but we’ve always had racism, it’s never gone away, but the moment he became our President it has become highlighted a bit more, I’m scared that's going to be the same issue on our campus. I’m not saying we don’t have racism, discrimination, we don’t have any of that, I’m just worried that brining it here will cause it to be a little worse than better. Do you know what I’m saying?” Delgado continued.
The SGA informed the students that, although there is not a formal appeal process, TPUSA could reapply for recognition the following fall. This reapplication would occur in front of an SGA senate made up largely of the same students presiding over the initial application, FIRE reports.
Marchena defended to Campus Reform the ways in which, contrary to the SGA’s concerns, TPUSA would, in fact, improve the climate of his campus saying, “The school has a serious problem with antisemitism on campus.”
“By denying us recognition they blocked one of their greatest allies in this fight. To add insult to injury they falsely insinuated our group would add to the hostile environment they had trouble fixing. Regardless of the university's decision or insinuations, we will always stand up against hate,” Marchena told Campus Reform.
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