Conservative student group denied 'for no reason'

After a hopeful TPUSA chapter was denied at Baylor, the students say they were given no reason for the decision.

The university offered no comment on the story other than to list off the three other conservative organizations that exist on campus.

Students seeking to establish an official Turning Point USA chapter at Baylor University say they were given no reason as to why their application for recognition as an official student group was rejected.

Emails obtained by Campus Reform show the Department of Student Activities informing the students that the department “will be unable to grant a charter for Turning Point USA at Baylor.”

“We value the time and energy you put into this process and appreciate your involvement on campus. We hope you will continue to pursue pathways for involvement at Baylor, whether that be through joining an existing student organization on campus or taking advantage of other meaningful experiences available to you,” reads the email. “The Department of Student Activities is here to help guide you through your journey at Baylor. We would be happy to meet with you to further discuss the process as well as your future involvement at Baylor University’’.

TPUSA at Baylor founder Oliver Mintz shared with Campus Reform multiple emails sent by him to the department, asking for clarification as to why the application was rejected, but Mintz says he has still received no answer. 

[Related: TPUSA rejected for not conforming to school’s ‘values’]

“The decision that was made by the Baylor administration is very troubling. It’s been very unsettling to not even have the satisfaction of knowing why we were denied,” Mintz told Campus Reform.“In the meeting that we had with the administration after our denial, they only made a vague reference to Turning Point’s ‘methodology’ as the reason for our denial. When I challenged them on the ‘methodology’, they were unable to provide any evidence or examples of this ‘methodology’.”

“They also brought up concerns about the future leadership of the organization saying that they were worried about a ‘drop-off’ and ‘decline’ in leadership once our current leadership graduates,” Mintz added, calling the vague reasons “simply excuses to hide behind. However, we want to provide them with as much information as they need in order to make a well-informed decision about our organization. Everyone involved is highly motivated and we are confident we will eventually get a charter.” 

Student Benjamin Larrabee said in a Facebook post, “Baylor University has decided, after months of side-lining us, to deny our chapter for no reason other than they can.” 

[Related: Another conservative student group denied recognition]

“Well I think some universities, Baylor included, are afraid of allowing ‘too much’ free speech,” one Baylor student who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from the university administration told Campus Reform. “We have quite a few outspoken leftist professors and faculty, and the majorly leftist Student Activities Board is worried when TPUSA offers things like the Professor Watchlist to identify those overly biased professors…. [and] The Student Activities Board did not want to give a direct or honest answer because it fears being recognized for discriminating against free speech,” he added.

[Related: Conservative campus groups couldn’t catch a break last year]

When Campus Reform asked the university about the group’s denial, Lori Fogleman, Assistant Vice President of Media and Public Relations at Baylor responded,  “Here’s what we can share with you. Baylor University currently has three very active conservative student organizations on our campus: Baylor College Republicans, Baylor Young American’s for Freedom, and Baylor Young Conservatives of Texas.” 

A current petition circulating online for Turning Point USA to become a registered student organization on campus has amassed more than 300 signatures.

Follow the author of this article on twitter: @allisonrobison_