Students say campus activism at a standstill as national groups cancel events

Conservative student organization Turning Point USA recently announced in an email that campus events and meetings are to be postponed “until further notice” in response to the coronavirus pandemic affecting the nation. 

“In an effort to stay ahead of the warnings in place by the CDC and local authorities in response to COVID-19, Turning Point USA is calmly continuing its effort to ensure the safety of our staff and activists and continue the important work we are doing to save the country,” the organization stated. 

TPUSA also suggested that chapter meetings should be conducted by phone or video calling.

Many campuses around the United States have moved lectures online for the rest of the semester due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic that originated in China.

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“[The coronavirus situation] is really sad since we were going to have Jaco Booyens come speak on campus later this month. It was going to be our biggest event to date and bipartisan because of the topic,” Bowling Green State University TPUSA chapter member Eric Cox told Campus Reform. Booyens is best known for his efforts to raise awareness about sex trafficking. 

“Students need to be educated about the issue of human trafficking, and it is a real shame we had to cancel. This will also affect many clubs planning for next year as elections are typically in the spring, causing many to have to postpone until next year,” Cox added.

“I’m still trying to figure [meetings] out,” TPUSA Illinois State University chapter president and campus coordinator Kevin Phares told Campus Reform

Phares explained that he is trying to find ways to keep his group engaged from a distance including a club group chat. 

“I want to make sure the members of our club stay engaged with learning why we believe what we believe so I’ve considered sending PragerU videos with short surveys to not only maintain conservative engagement but also give people something to do,” he added. 

“Coronavirus has practically shut down campus activism,” Phares added. “My favorite part of my week was talking with people on campus, answering questions about the conservative ideology, and participating in thoughtful discussion with people that disagreed with me. That cannot really take place with the restrictions put on us. The only positive thing is we can give more attention to our social media accounts and continue our activism through that communication platform.”

TPUSA is not alone in this decision, many other student groups are making similar calls including Young America’s Foundation’s recent move to cancel all events through April.

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TPUSA encouraged its members to “keep the energy high” and to “promote our activism campaigns online and through your chapter social media pages.” 

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