USA TODAY College – Feb. 8, 2017
The student senate at Santa Clara University voted to reject the petition to form a chapter of Turning Point USA, a conservative organization, sparking a spate of critical news articles, mostly in conservative-leaning outlets.
According to a statement from Neil Datar, chair of the Santa Clara student senate, 10 student senators voted in favor of the Turning Point USA chapter, and 16 voted against.
“The decision came after input from a diverse range of constituents for and against the approval of Turning Point USA,” Datar said in a statement e-mailed to USA TODAY College.
During the senate deliberation, according to Datar, senators had the opportunity to voice their views about the club. “The final decision was a product of a rigorous, fair and democratic process,” he stated.
Ahmer Israr, one of the 10 senators who voted for TPUSA, said in an email to USA TODAY College, “It is a shame that 16 of my peers saw it fit to trample upon the rights of an intellectual minority group on campus by engaging in a tyranny of the majority.”
Israr said in his three years as a senator he has only seen a handful of clubs rejected, calling it an “uncommon occurrence.” He said out of the 11 proposed clubs this quarter, TPUSA was the only one to be rejected.
“Intellectual safety has become just as important as physical safety,” said first-year student senator David Warne, also in an emailed statement to USA TODAY College. Warne said he and Israr repeatedly emphasized the importance of intellectual freedom and diversity during the meeting in which the vote was held.
A student who petitioned on behalf of Turning Point, Caleb Alleva, told the Daily Caller that students who voted down the chapter proposal are confused about what conservatism means and represents. “A lot of them are lying about being afraid or they are genuinely in fear because of this false sense of danger promulgated by the media that anyone who is vaguely conservative is a Nazi or a white supremacist,” Alleva told the Daily Caller.
According to the national organization’s website, 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.”
Turning Point USA has the ability to petition again in the future. But right now, they are not happy.
“(These students’) right to free speech has been completely barred by leftists on campus,” Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk said in an interview on Fox.
The organization has more than 300 student chapters on college campuses throughout the nation.
On the Turning Point chapter directory website page, Santa Clara University is listed as a chapter, despite having been rejected by the student senate. Alleva is listed as the club president. There is also a Facebook group page for Santa Clara members of Turning Point.
“The mission of Turning Point USA at Santa Clara University is to educate students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government through non-partisan debate, dialogue, discussion & activism,” says the group description.
Santa Clara University has a few requirements for registering a new student organization, listed on the university website:
- At least 2 undergraduate students serve as club officers (president and treasurer).
- At least 15 self-selecting members, may include officers.
- Majority of members must be undergraduate students.
If all requirements are met, the organization undergoes a three-step bureaucratic registration process, followed by final approval.
“The ASG (Associated Student Government) grants final approval during a vote at the next student senate meeting after the deadline,” says the Santa Clara student organization website.