SILVIA OAKLAND, TRUMPET EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & ANNIKA WALL, TRUMPET MANAGING EDITOR
Wartburg College Student Senate voted to approve a campus chapter of Turning Point USA by vote of 33-14 on Thursday, Dec. 12, according to Student Senate minutes from the meeting on Dec. 12.
“This decision by Student Senate is being met with a variety of emotions, and my colleagues and I in Student Life are here to support all students,” Dr. Daniel Kittle, dean of students, said. “I would also add that each day we are surrounded by complex issues, tensions, and challenges that we must work through with a spirit of civility. While it can be hard, we should all aspire to find ways to civilly discuss the complex and diverse perspectives that an issue like this brings to the forefront.”
The vote was completed with a paper ballot for anonymity and to help senators avoid pressure while voting, according to Trevor Hurd, Wartburg Student Body President, in the minutes from the Dec. 12 meeting.
“Absolutely no words to describe what I’m feeling right now. After two years of battling, Turning Point USA has been officially approved at Wartburg College with a vote of 33-14,” Emily Russell, fourth-year English major and founder and Wartburg’s Turning Point USA chapter president, posted on Facebook at 1:22 p.m., Dec. 12.
Turning Point USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk. The organization’s mission is to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government, according to tpusa.com.
“Turning Point USA brings something unique to this campus because it allows students to support ideas, rather than parties or candidates … To us, there is a lot of value in having a group of our peers support our existence as a college supported organization, and the result that comes out of this vote today will determine how this campus views organizations that present views that challenge the status quo,” Russell said in the meeting minutes.
Haley Cannon, a 2017 Wartburg graduate, and Russell originally brought the organization to Wartburg in fall 2017. The group was denied as a student organization in winter 2017, according to an article by the Wartburg Trumpet on Dec. 4, 2017.
The group was previously denied because the Student Senate was concerned that the organization’s values were not in line with the college’s values, according to Dr. Daniel Kittle, dean of students, in an interview with the Waterloo Courier on Dec. 13, 2017. Kittle added in a Dec. 15, 2019, statement to the Trumpet that Wartburg students proposing the Turning Point USA chapter “made meaningful and substantive changes” to the organization’s constitution.
With the approval, students and alumni have taken to social media to voice opinions.
“I’m incredibly disappointed in @WartburgSenate today. Don’t have slogans like ‘You Belong’ and ‘Hate Has No Place Here’ if an organization affiliated with the KKK and neo-Nazi’s are welcomed on campus,” Naomi Alene, former Student Body President and 2018 Wartburg graduate, said in a Tweet posted at 12:53 p.m., Dec. 12. “Hate not only has a place at @WartburgCollege, it’s welcomed with open arms.”
There are claims on social media that Turning Point USA is affiliated with hate groups, however the claims are unsubstantiated.
Turning Point USA was recently denied a chapter at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The reasoning for the decision was not released and made for a number of reasons, according to Nick Johnson, Drake Student Body President, in an interview with the Times-Delphic, Drake’s student-run newspaper.
Russell stated via Twitter that there will be a Peace Dialogue about Turning Point USA on Wartburg’s campus in Winter Term.
At the time of the release of this article, the Wartburg Chapter of Turning Point USA had been contacted for comment.
Article from Drake University: http://timesdelphic.com/2019/11/drake-student-senate-denies-rso-status-to-turning-point-usa/