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UW-Stevens Point Reviews Decision Of Student Government Not To Recognize Conservative Organization

Students Accuse Turning Point USA Of Hate Speech On Other Campuses

UW-Stevens Point
The administration at UW-Stevens Point is reviewing a decision by the school’s Student Government Association not to recognize Turning Point USA, a conservative organization. Glen Moberg/WPR

Last week, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Student Government Association rejected Turning Point USA’s request to become an official student organization on campus.

Now, a week later, the university’s leadership is reviewing the decision not to recognize the conservative organization.

The UW-Stevens Point chapter of Turning Point USA describes itself as an organization dedicated to free speech, capitalism and limited government.

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But opponents of the group argue that members of the organization engage in hate speech on other campuses and online.

Lyn Ciurro, a transgender student who leads the Women’s Resource Center, a student organization, argued against recognizing Turning Point during a three hour debate before the SGA last week.

“They’ve done events that are specifically focusing on different marginalized groups, discriminating against them, harassing them. They post different memes online that are discriminatory toward trans students,” Ciurro said.

Ciurro criticized the decision by Turning Point USA’s UW-Milwaukee chapter to invite Milo Yiannopoulos, a political commentator and writer associated with the alt-right, to Milwaukee’s campus in December 2016.

“The result of that (invitation) was that there was a trans student who was outed and discriminated against and dropped out of school because they didn’t feel safe on campus anymore,” Ciurro said.

The UW-Stevens Point College Republicans issued a statement of support for Turning Point USA on Monday, saying the Student Government Association “stripped the voice of conservative organizations.”

“The student government of UW-Stevens Point should be held accountable for their blatant disregard for freedom of speech and the free marketplace of ideas on campus,” chairwoman Amelia Heup said in the statement.

Al Thompson, the school’s vice chancellor of student affairs is reviewing the decision. Turning Point USA has been granted temporary recognition during the review process, according to a statement by the Student Government Association.

The group is allowed to hang posters and flyers, and reserve space on campus, according to the statement.

Turning Point USA Midwest Field Director Timon Prax said Monday on “The Jerry Bader Show,” a conservative talk radio program, that more than 10 students at UW-Stevens Point have contacted him since the decision.

“They have told me that we are deathly afraid of being open conservatives on campus, we have to hide our beliefs all the time,” Prax said.