TPUSA chapter denied after being called a 'hate speech group'
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student government denied a prospective Turning Point USA chapter official recognition after students called it a “hate speech group.”
All university clubs seeking official school recognition are subjected to a standard process in order to receive student government recognition, but TPUSA at UWSP President Emily Strangfeld told Campus Reform that she felt her group was “specifically discriminated against,” beginning with the way that the process was presented to her group.
"Frankly, how free markets and support of the First Amendment equates to hate speech is completely baffling to me."
According to Strangfeld, the group had already completed all the administrative tasks required to gain recognition for their group, and were told to wait for an email from student government with a date to appear at a meeting where an official vote would take place.
The chapter officers reportedly did not receive said email until the day before the meeting was to take place, giving them very little time to prepare.
The group claims that its faculty advisor also received an email the day before the meeting with new forms and paperwork that had not been previously provided, and which had to be completed before the meeting the following day.
The TPUSA chapter constitution provided to student government asserted that “The goal of this student organization is to promote, free speech, capitalism and limited government,” adding that “Turning Point USA’s mission is to educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and capitalism through innovative campus activism and non-partisan, thought-provoking discussion.”
Video footage provided to Campus Reform shows the student government officiator stating that the Senate had allotted a standard 20 minutes to discuss the matter at hand, during which the chapter was to give a presentation, hold a brief question and answer session, and then the meeting would move on to a vote.
However, the question and answer session led to the decision to open the floor to meeting attendees before the vote, a process that lasted three hours while various students stood up to protest granting official recognition.
During this time students accused TPUSA of being “dangerous,” a “threat,” and a “hate speech group” that “attacks people of different backgrounds,” and would therefore make students feel “unsafe” if granted official campus recognition.
One student accused the organization of providing a “platform for individuals to act violently against professors,” an apparent reference to the TPUSA’s Professor Watchlist, a website that compiles reports of liberal bias and abuse against students by professors.
The student acknowledged that the organization does not advocate violence of any kind, but said that the existence of such a database causes students to feel “emboldened to act violently against professors.”
The TPUSA students were then allowed a 10-second segment to respond to the three hours of accusations before the matter went to a closed vote, which resulted in the decision to deny the group official university recognition.
In a radio interview Monday morning, Turning Point USA Midwest Field Director Timon Prax stated that going into Thursday’s meeting, the group was under the impression that the application would be reviewed based on previously stated criteria laid out by the school, such as whether or not the group had an advisor and student interest.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t have been more wrong,” Prax said, complaining that even though the chapter had “met every single requirement” laid out by the school, students were allowed to “parade in” and accuse the group of being “racist, homophobic, [and] xenophobic.”
“It’s very interesting. We always hear the same words...There’s no productive conversation in this,” Prax continued, contending that the meeting was simply four hours of accusations that the group members were racist and claims that Turning Point as a national organization promotes “hate speech.”
“Frankly, how free markets and support of the First Amendment equates to hate speech is completely baffling to me,” Prax added, going on to contend that the UWSP had actually violated its own Diversity and Inclusiveness policy by discriminating against conservative students.
Prax also stated that he had reached out to the Dean of Students and other faculty after the meeting and had not received a response.
The UWSP College Democrats, however, issued a statement Monday saying that its members “condone UW-Stevens Point Student Government Association's decision to deny this organization to be recognized on campus.”
The post also challenged a TPUSA meme referring to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln as “the original resist movement” and declaring that “the left has a long history of radical, violent behavior.”
“For those who do not understand the left's ‘Long history of radical, violent behavior’ and how party values have shifted and flipped over the years, UWSP has a fantastic history department,” the College Democrats retorted.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan