Litigation Could Be Looming In UW-Stevens Point Assault On Conservative Speech

MacIver News Service | Nov. 15. 2017

By M.D. Kittle

Madison, Wis. – A lawsuit may be looming if the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student government doesn’t do a 180 on its position denying a conservative group the right to exist, sources tell MacIver News Service.

Amelia Heup, chairwoman of the College Republicans of UW-Stevens Point, said she has heard from student representatives of Turning Point USA that the organization is “getting ready for litigation.”

Officials from Turning Point could not be reached for comment.

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. #wiright #wipolitics Click To Tweet

SGA appears to be standing firm, although it now notes that Turning Point was allowed “temporary recognition.” Such recognition had nothing to do with student government leaders, however, and the future of the local chapter is now in the hands of administrative review.

“Per the New Student Organization Guide provided to all student organizations through Campus Activities and Student Engagement (C.A.S.E.), Turning Point USA at UWSP was granted Temporary Recognition,” the association notes.  “Organizations granted Temporary Recognition are allowed to hang posters and flyers and reserve space on campus to garner student interest.”

On Monday, SGA said they were just following their constituents’ demands in denying recognition to Turning Point.

But Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), said a group of vocal, liberal students should not be allowed to stifle the First Amendment. Testin, a UW-Stevens Point alumnus, and Heup joined MacIver News Service Wednesday morning on the Dan O’Donnell Show on NewsTalk 1130 WISN in Milwaukee. 

The senator said he contacted Chancellor Bernie Patterson Tuesday expressing his concerns about the matter.

“I believe they are hoping the SGA will take this upon themselves and reverse the decision, but if that doesn’t happen the administration is prepared to step in and overturn their decision because, quite frankly, this opens up the university to a lot of liability as far as legal challenges go because this is a direct violation of students’ First Amendment rights.”

A university spokesman did not return an email seeking comment.

UW-Stevens Point Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Al Thompson, is reviewing the student government’s decision.

SGA’s latest press release insists Turning Point USA has been exercising its freedom of speech on campus.

“The Student Government Association at UW-Stevens Point will continue to work with all student organizations and the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs,” the SGA said.