St. John’s University in New York City has denied students’ requests to start a chapter of conservative organization Turning Point USA (TPUSA). The school’s denial was based on false claims that TPUSA members were involved in the Capitol riot on January 6th, as well as “debatable media rhetoric” regarding the organization’s founder Charlie Kirk.
The Right opposes the decision. It is argued that in the same way leftist organizations such as the Roosevelt Institute are recognized and allowed on campus, right-leaning ones such as TPUSA should also be given the “same courtesy.” TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk, in reference to a similar situation in which another chapter request was denied, noted, “At Bethany College in West Virginia, students are given a written commitment that the university will uphold ‘free and unfettered discussion…which encourages expression of all points of view.’ Unless, of course, those views are conservative.”
“The university setting should be a place of a respectful debate and dialogue on major issues that will help shape the compass of students as they approach their professional lives. In the professional landscape, no matter what career one pursues, they are bound to encounter those of different philosophies. Respect for differing viewpoints in the university setting is preparation for this critical step in professional and personal growth.”Constitutionalist Publius in Exile Blog Post
St. John’s student Matthew Steckman, who created a TPUSA recognition petition for St. John’s, wrote that the goal of those requesting to start a chapter was simply to “have conversation with other students about politics” and to “bring up ideas and create dialogue between all students on campus.”
The Left believes that the school’s denial is justified because of Turning Point’s “racism” and “bigotry.” TPUSA has long been a focus of the Left’s criticism, with anti-hate organization the Anti-Defamation League writing, “TPUSA’s leadership and activists have made multiple racist or bigoted comments and have been linked to a variety of extremists.” Freelance journalist Cristina Lopez G stated that the organization has “a long history of involvement in racist incidents that are now permanently linked to its name.”