Conservative group exposes student gov for attempting to force club to create DEI position

High Point University's Student Government Association recently attempted to ensure that all campus organizations fill a role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair.

Had it remained in effect, the rule would force all student groups, including conservative clubs, to embrace DEI principles.

The Student Government Association (SGA) at High Point University in North Carolina attempted to force student organizations to fill a “Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” in order for them to maintain official standing on campus, representatives of the local conservative Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter told Campus Reform.

A screenshot uploaded to X (formerly Twitter) by TPUSA field representative Cameron Hembree on Sept. 8 appeared to show an excerpt of the DEI requirement for organizational recognition, which he referred to as a part of “forced diversity quotas.”

According to the TPUSA chapter, the SGA bylaws were amended in February 2023 and posted to a university web page, despite lacking approval from the High Point administration. Student organizations were then informed they would need to conform to the new rule by filling the new positions, including DEI Chair.  

[Related: Texas eliminates DEI at public colleges and universities]

A copy of the bylaws provided to Campus Reform notes that, “the following procedures have been established by vote of the Student Senate of the Student Government Association. Changes in these procedures require a two-thirds vote of the Student Senate.”

According to a university official, however, the proposed changes were not adopted by the university’s Board of Trustees.

Vice President of Communications Pam Haynes told Campus Reform, “After meeting in the spring, the board [of trustees] re-confirmed the traditional bylaws, which in effect provide SGA organizations the right to make their own choices with regards to executive offices.”

Haynes said that the SGA-proposed changes were reviewed according to the school’s established process, where “anytime senate members of SGA vote to recommend structural changes, such as changes to bylaws, the changes are then reviewed by the Board of Trustees Student Life Committee.”

[Related: University of North Carolina eliminates DEI statements for faculty, students]

High Point TPUSA President Kristen Jackson, who is also a Campus Reform correspondent, said that the chapter has long been at odds with the school’s administration. 

In 2021, High Point’s Student Life Committee denied the Turning Point USA club’s official charter. Dr. Karen O’Hara, Chair of the Student Life Committee, expressed in an email that the committee’s decision stemmed “from the national organization and their practices including a perceived lack of inclusivity and open environment.”

According to Jackson, “schools like High Point University consider policies like this because they perceive certain organizations to not be diverse enough. As a result of this perception, they put proposed policies to push this diversity which can come across as forced to many students.”

Campus Reform contacted Cameron Hembree for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.