This is a developing story.
Tyler Junior College’s Student Senate denied recognizing Turning Point USA, a national conservative organization, as a campus organization. According to Lauren Tyler, director of student life, since 2011, she is “unaware of an organization being denied.”
In the senate meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28, the motion to acknowledge Turning Point USA was denied over concerns about some of the group’s platforms. The Turning Point USA organization was first introduced to the Student Senate on Sept 21.
Freshman Juliana Penney, who was the intended chapter president, discusses what Turning Point USA represents.
“We are really just about freedom, limited government, free-market, free speech, just all things supporting the constitution,” Penney said.
Penney added , “over 80 students have already expressed interest in joining our chapter.”
According to tpusa.com, “TPUSA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom.” The website also states the organization is present on 2,500 campuses across America, which includes high schools, private schools, colleges and universities. In Texas this includes, the University of Texas San Antonio, Texas State University and Trinity College.
“We plan to work with the office of student activities to make sure we are following all the necessary procedures to become recognized as an official student organization,” Penney said. “We look forward to being a part of the broad tapestry of ideas and opinions that make our campus great.”
Opponents of the motion argued the group is based on hate, citing a professor watchlist, a list created by Turning Point USA to expose what the organization alleges are “Radical Professors.”
Jessica Sailing, TJC sophomore and representative for the Phi Rho Pi Speech and Debate Team, opposed the recognition of Turning Point USA.
“Turning Point is a group that is founded on hatred, and it is a group that is founded on manipulation of young students,” Sailing said. “It is an indoctrination program into the far right, and it is prone to becoming an echo chamber as well as associating our school with a specific political party, which is not something that we should be doing or that we need to.”
According to TJC’s student handbook to be recognized as an organization groups must follow the steps listed below.
1. Visit the Center for Student Life and Involvement or go to OrgSync to obtain forms for recognition.
2. Identify a full-time faculty or staff member to advise or sponsor the organization.
3. Complete and attach to the forms a copy of the organization’s constitution and bylaws, along with a list of members, officers and sponsor(s).
4. Each Honorary or Academic group, if related to a specific academic or technical program, must have written approval of the appropriate instructional dean before recognition will be granted.
5. Return all forms and attachments to the Center for Student Life and Involvement.
6. Once the proper forms have been completed, the organization will present at the Student Senate General Assembly meeting for final approval.
7. If denied, an organization may appeal the decision to the Director of Student Life.
– Mike King also contributed to this report.