Turning Point USA on watch at America’s colleges
Colleges across the country are refusing to recognize a burgeoning student conservative organization by employing administrative technicalities to prevent the group from gaining official status.
In the latest case, the administration at Creighton University effectively issued a “cease and desist” letter to Turning Point USA (TPUSA) on the grounds that TPUSA's website inaccurately indicated that the group had an active chapter on campus. Their chapter, the school said, “was unable to distinguish itself from existing organizations with similar mission statements.”
As a result, Creighton’s TPUSA chapter was ordered to “modify [its] website by removing any reference to Creighton University” in a letter obtained by Hypeline.
One of the group’s leaders, however, insists that he and his peers explained precisely how their group would differ from other conservative organizations.
“I went into how many people I already had interested, and how I was engaging people in the political field so much that we had Democrats interested in the group,” Justin Carrizales told Hypeline. “When I was in that meeting I told them anything and everything as well as brought our club's constitution to explain the differences and how we would be engaging and active.”
Earlier this week, the Drake University Student Senate voted overwhelmingly against recognizing TPUSA as an official student organization after several senators objected to the group’s political views, citing the group’s view on social issues as problematic.
Senator Kevin Kane, for instance, said he could not justify approving the group because of its “hateful record,” claiming some of its tweets “directly relate to social issues.”
Another Senator, Linley Sanders, also took issue with the group’s social media activity, saying she “does not support some things concerning social issues on their Facebook page.” In her dissent, Sanders explained that although she does not object to the group’s conservative views in general, she worries that “the organization may be against specific groups[,] which could be perceived as condescending.”
Hypeline reported that one senator, Olivia O’Hea, attributed her distaste for the group to its founder’s stance on abortion, citing several posts on O’Hea’s Facebook page in which she declares her support for Planned Parenthood that have since been made private.
A day earlier, students in a TPUSA chapter at Tarleton State University were warned to “cross their T’s and dot their I’s” after holding an event on campus.
The group was then denied official status when administrators stated that “faculty can only sponsor those organizations that profess no right or left bias whatsoever” even though the advisor himself claimed he has “seen other groups on campus that may be considered left-leaning.”
Additionally, Hypeline notes that the student handbook makes no explicit mention of any rule requiring student organizations to be completely unbiased.
Nonetheless, administrators warned TPUSA members that they are “on the university’s radar.”
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