Last Monday, Student Government ignited a firestorm by voting to boot a student organization off campus. This wasn’t just any student organization, but Turning Point USA which is a non-profit organization that advocates for conservative principles of freedom, free markets and limited government. They are perhaps best known for creating highly successful activist networks on college and high school campuses around the United States.
In a highly liberal atmosphere, TPUSA is a distinct target. It really is no surprise that in an era in which conservative speakers are banned from college campuses, liberals would attempt to kick conservative organizations off campus as well.
We all heard the various excuses Student Government gave as to why they want to kick TPUSA off campus, and it is pretty ridiculous. First, they claim that members of TPUSA are racist. Student Government really gives no proof of this except by saying that some TPUSA members have made statements that members of Student Government perceive as racist.
Let’s be honest here, the way some student senators see it, if you are conservative or support the president, then you are racist; that’s pretty much the only justification.
The second excuse is that TPUSA is a threat. A threat to who exactly? Again, this is another vague argument that makes no real sense. Student Government talked about violence against minorities in regards to TPUSA being on campus, yet there is nothing anywhere that indicates TPUSA has engaged in any such behavior.
The only tangible evidence the senators point to is the Professor Watchlistwhich identifies professors that “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The senators say this is a threat to professors, but the list is only a resource for students to avoid professors they may conflict with. Currently, only two Texas State professors are on this list, neither of which have seen an uptick in violence towards them.
It’s also rich that many of these accusations come from Student Senator Claudia Gasponi, who just last year dismissed her supporters’ acts and rhetoric as “outbursts of despair” during former President Connor Clegg’s impeachment trials, yet seems to see the conservative boogeyman behind every bush at Texas State.
The reality is that this has nothing do with TPUSA. This is an escalation of attacks on conservative thoughts and ideas on college campuses. It’s an attempt to stifle free speech and shut down dissenting thoughts and ideas. You don’t have to agree with TPUSA to see that this is a major problem.
Bobcats need to ask ourselves where does it end? Nothing stops individuals like Student Government senators from going after College Republicans, Young Americans for Freedom or any other conservative group on campus next because the very existence of conservatism is seen as a threat to these individuals. Anyone who values the constitution of this country should see that these are attacks on the very freedoms all Americans enjoy.
Thankfully this is getting a lot of attention with the school administration overruling student government. Even Governor Greg Abbott weighed in and spoke out against this, but more needs to happen. Students should look to remove these individuals from office, if possible, and ensure this never happens again.
Even if you hate conservative organizations, they have an important place in the political system. Without them, we descend into tyranny. As students and individuals, we should always work to uphold the rights of those around us.
– Jordan Drake is a communications senior