Baylor leaves conservative group in limbo for 18+ weeks

Conservative students at Baylor University are claiming that the school is intentionally stalling the formal recognition process for a group they are trying to establish.

The students have been trying to secure formal recognition of their Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter for several months with little progress, and argue that their lengthy limbo contrasts sharply with the experience of the 15 other student organizations that were approved last semester.

[RELATED: TPUSA deemed a ‘direct threat,’ denied recognition at Santa Clara]

Campus Reform analysis of a lengthy email exchange between university officials and the would-be founder and president of the unrecognised Baylor Turning Point USA chapter, Zachary Miller, reveals that the student groups has been waiting around 18 weeks on the university to approve the group’s charter request that was only supposed to take “6-8 weeks after submission.” 

While the initial charter request was submitted on February 12, the university still has not made a final decision about the status of the organization.

As the request approached the eight-week mark, Miller pressed the administration to address the length of the review process, asking for an explanation as to why the school has not yet approved the application.

“I understand your frustration with the timeline, it is an issue that we are addressing with all of our organizations going through the chartering process,” Student Activities representative Lacey Lehrmann told Miller in an April 5 email.

In an April 26 interview with The Baylor Lariat, however, Student Activities Director Matt Burchett boasted that 15 student organizations had been approved during the spring semester, all while the TPUSA charter request languished in limbo.

[RELATED: Conservative group sues after admin unilaterally yanks status]

In the latest email to Miller on May 29, Associate Director of Student Involvement Craig Willie wrote that “the chartering review process is not yet complete,” but said it is in “the final review stages.” 

In an earlier email, Willie acknowledged that Miller had “provided all information requested for this review,” adding that “tangible progress is being made” on the charter request, which he insisted is being “honored in good faith.”

“It has been 4.5 months since we applied for a charter, and we’re still being held up by the administration. We can’t even get a straight answer out of Student Activities as to why we’re being held up when everyone else has received an answer,” Miller told Campus Reform. “I can’t help but feel like this is because we’re conservatives, and because we want to shed light on the left-wing bias here at Baylor.

“I come from a Baylor family, and have loved this school for as long as I can remember, [but] this ordeal has caused me to lose some of that love I had for Baylor,” he added. “I just hope that one day I can love Baylor as much as I did before these unfortunate events transpired.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, a Baylor spokesperson stressed that “the charter application for Turning Point USA remains under review consistent with our stated policies and procedures,” adding that “It is our understanding that updates related to the progress of the application have been shared with the student applicants throughout the process.”

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