MacIver News Service | Nov. 14. 2017
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON, Wis. – The campus militant left is at it again, with another speech-for-me-but-not-for-thee assault in the progressive war on free speech.
Last week, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Student Government Association voted to deny student organization status to about 10 conservative students attempting to establish a local chapter of Turning Point USA.
The SGA did so after several “safe space” liberal students cried “hate group” at a student government meeting Thursday.
Left-wing college campuses across the country have attempted to silence right-of-center organizations and speakers, broadly painting conservative thought as “hate speech.”
Nonprofit Turning Point USA’s mission is to “identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government,” according to the group’s website. Leftists have tried to label Turning Point as an “alt-right” hate group, because labeling is what leftists do.
Apparently to liberal students at UW-Stevens Point, fiscal responsibility and limited government equate to racism and hate.
Student government leaders fired out a statement defending their decision.
“Our student Senators are elected by their constituents in each college to represent them at General Assembly. Student senators voted based off what they heard from their constituents, commentary during public forum and information presented by the student organization,” SGA’s press release states.
But Stevens Point conservatives say the system is rigged against conservative speech.
“Contrary to (SGA’s) statement, a majority of UWSP students were not made aware of the meeting, let alone the fact that this was even being debated,” Amelia Heup, chairwoman of the College Republicans of UW-Stevens Point, told MacIver News Service. “There has been no official reason why they have been denied.”
Tegan Griffith, public relations director for student government, issued the group’s statement, but did not reply to MacIver News Service’s specific questions. The SGA’s press release doesn’t even mention Turning Point’s name.
Officials from Turning Point did not return a request for comment.
UW-Stevens Point spokesman Nick Schultz said the decision is “being reviewed by the vice chancellor of student affairs.”
The College Republicans of UW-Stevens Point issued a statement saying it strongly admonishes the Student Government Association. While the Republicans do not directly represent Turning Point, they say the chilling of free speech should concern all at a liberal arts university.
“The UW-Stevens Point Student Government Association has made it clear that they do not recognize freedom of speech on campus. College campuses are supposed to be a free marketplace of ideas, even ideas that the majority disagree with,” the release states.
Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), issued a statement noting that Turning Point USA local chapters are located on more than 1,000 college and high school campuses across the country. He said he’s concerned about the message the student government’s action sends to students.
“A well rounded education requires exposure to different viewpoints,” the lawmaker said in a statement. “Intellectual diversity is important, and should be embraced by students as part of the learning process.”
“The rejection of Turning Point USA’s request is antithetical to what the University stands for. I encourage Vice Chancellor (Al) Thompson to reverse the decision and I believe the student senators should reflect on the importance of maintaining a respectful, open dialogue on campus,” Testin said.
Heup said the campus’ “inclusivity” initiative apparently does not apply to one minority group on the liberal campus: conservatives.
Diversity and inclusion are supposedly cornerstone tenets for the university, but censorship of conservative voices on University of Wisconsin campuses has been growing, College Republicans say.
The SGA staff includes an “Inclusivity Director,” who “oversees and facilitates SGA inclusivity projects and events on campus, works with underrepresented student organizations to collaborate and to ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment on campus.”
Heup said that initiative apparently does not apply to one minority group on the liberal campus: conservatives.
“SGA preaches a diversity of voices, but now they took away one other voice to be a diverse campus,” she said.