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CSUN conservatives find a turning point

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Students hold protest signs

Despite the handful of political groups on campus, there is a noticeable absence of conservative clubs at CSUN. In fact, at the moment, there is only one sanctioned right-leaning club on campus: Turning Point USA.

Turning Point USA is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk. While Turning Point USA (TPUSA) is a non-partisan organization, its basis is rooted in promoting conservative principles such as free markets and limited governments. According to its website, Turning Point USA has “a presence on over 1,000 college campuses nationwide”. The organization is known for its controversial “Professor Watchlist”, which catalogs professors across the country it believes to “discriminate against conservative students.”

For CSUN, Turning Point USA is a new addition, as the club was officially approved by the university this past fall semester. The chapter’s president, Claire Alison, feels like TPUSA’s establishment could promote more participation among conservative students on campus.

“A lot of students don’t like saying that they’re conservative, ” said Alison, a senior majoring in History. “We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response toward [TPUSA] from students.”

Not every campus has been as receptive to TPUSA as CSUN. In 2016, Drake University denied a permit request for its TPUSA chapter to become a formally recognized student organization . In 2017, a petition for a TPUSA chapter at Santa Clara University was rejected by the college’s student senate.

While TPUSA CSUN’s club registration has gone through relatively smoothly compared to the chapter’s counterparts at Santa Clara and Drake University, it has faced some dissent from the university. According to Alison, TPUSA’s CSUN chapter faced backlash from the university during its application process due to some of their tabling signs. In particular, CSUN considered the club’s “socialism sucks” sign as potentially offensive.

Despite the university’s concerns, students, both proponents and opponents of TPUSA’s positions, have remained civilized, according to Alison. Rather than drawing confrontation, TPUSA’s CSUN arrival has so far only provoked constructive dialog between opposing viewpoints. During the tabling process, Alison has only witnessed several heated, but amicable debates between club members and liberal students.

Osje Peña, a writer for conservative news outlet “Campus Reform” and a member of TPUSA’s CSUN chapter, feels that these debates provided by the club have helped bridge a gap between conservative and liberal students.

“We don’t have to agree on everything, but as long as we find common ground, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Peña, an Economics major in his third year. “I think what we’re really promoting is conversation [which] is key in our environment.”

Alison sees these debates as a big part of the club’s future. The club has sought out clubs such as CSUN’s Young Democrats chapter for future on-campus debates. In fact, Alison believes participation of liberal students will be imperative for the growth of TPUSA’s CSUN chapter.

“We’re non-partisan. Everyone is welcome to [Turning Point USA],” said Alison. “Especially liberal [students]. Let’s talk, and let’s see how we can make this country better.”

Turning Point USA is not the only organized conservative presence on campus. CSUN’s chapter of College Republicans also applied for a club permit this past fall. However, the club’s president, Trystan Vierra has ran into a few roadblocks through the application process.

“It’s mostly been work constraints. I have work, [the College Republicans] Vice President has work, we’re working around 40 hours a week while trying to go to school,” said Vierra, a junior majoring in Music Industries Studies.

Unlike Turning Point USA, which has the backing of a larger organization, College Republicans is dependent on members such as Vierra to complete arduous application processes such as drafting a club constitution.

Vierra says while the university has been accommodating towards the club’s inception, the difficulty of finding a faculty advisor has delayed the formal approval of CSUN’s College Republicans chapter. The club has recently found a faculty advisor, who wishes to remain anonymous due to the potential backlash among his colleagues his position may bring.

For clubs such as Turning Point USA and College Republicans, and the students they are comprised of, the uphill battle continues for conservative conversation on CSUN’s campus. For Osje Peña and Claire Alison, part of that battle is to dispel the notion that conservatives are some sort of unapproachable “boogeymen”.

“[Conservative students] often have polarizing images, but I think it’s time to break the ice,” said Peña. “Come meet us. We’re students. We’re humans.”

“Everyone should come and talk to us.” said Alison. “[Clubs like Turning Point USA] aren’t reserved for a certain group of people… these ideas really help everybody.”

Turning Point USA will be tabling this upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday at CSUN’s “Meet the Clubs”.

6 Comments

  1. Matthew Boedy Jan 31, 2018

    Charlie Kirk can be fact-checked here: https://goo.gl/CexGQo, https://goo.gl/JUvcdx, and https://goo.gl/FjVUJH

  2. weilunion Jan 31, 2018

    First off, the Professor Watch list is no at 227 professors. I have the list of names if yu wish it. We are trying to organize off the list. We could use some help for the ‘we’ is myself and two others.

    TPUSA is working very diligently in Omaha, Nebraska. Seems, from what I have been told, two TPUSA or former TPUSA staffers now work as interns for state legislators.

    TPUSA
    is being used by the state legislators
    who are running for election, to get out the vote and God knows what
    more. All of this is a violation of the 501 C 3 status the group
    enjoys.

    Omaha, NB is also the place where 88 Tactical, a weapons and
    arms sales business lives. They have a $5
    million dollar facility and recently in tandem with the Global Institute (a
    loony Islamaphobic) gave training in arms use to civilians of the Christian
    persuasion. They also operate out of
    Ohio.

    http://globalfaithinstitute.org/tag/88-tactical/

    The trainers are psycho, former FBI John Guandolo and his
    sidekick, who says he infiltrated Muslim groups, Chris Gaubatz. They formed a group the call Understanding
    the Threat (UTT).

    http://www.centennialgunclub.com/understanding-the-threat/

    Turning Point USA’s women club, took training in arms from
    the NRA last year. Here is Wayne Lepelier thanking them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbaY_Uk5ZQQ

    It is as if this gun manufacturers and trainers are above ground
    militia.

    Here is another one. This one, Desert Tactical now Desert
    Tech is out of Utah and is run by a Kingston Klan member of the LDS. Within the last few years they have gained notoriety
    not only for their rabid anti-Islam training and ideology, but they also turned
    down a $15 million dollar contract to sell weapons to Pakistan citing their
    morality.

    http://barenakedislam.com/2014/01/06/outstanding-utah-gun-manufacturer-turns-down-15-million-arms-deal-with-pakistan-out-of-fear-they-would-be-used-against-american-troops/

    The president tells why they turned down the contract.

    http://www.guns.com/2014/01/15/desert-tactical-president-explains-turned-10-million-pakistan-contract/

    There is no connection as of yet between TPUSA and the
    Mormon or Christian groups, but you might want to get your Magic Underwear in
    chamo this year.

    It looks like TPUSA has been gaining ground at Penn State,
    backed by a man named Aiden Mattis.

    Think he might be a fascist disguised as a libertarian?

    https://voat.co/v/Identitarian/1692846

    Spencer, as no doubt you know, is there also.

    http://www.collegian.psu.edu/news/campus/article_27a91588-b79b-11e7-8187-4ff0e2da19ee.html

    http://www.collegian.psu.edu/news/campus/article_5f50908c-022e-11e8-8abf-d73d75d78aed.html

    Mattis is also working with a state legislature to write major
    legislation regarding free speech which TPUSA hopes will spread to more states.

    This move to create legislation has to be against Turning
    Point USA’s 501 c (3) status, among other issues.

    The move to create “free speech”
    legislation might be underway done in other states right now, but we do not know it.

    “According to Mattis, the bill’s provisions allow
    students or organizations on campus to file complaints against their
    institutions of higher learning in state court if they believe the institution
    has censored their legally protected speech.”

    “Legally actionable offenses include establishing
    free speech zones on campus, penalizing “hate speech,” charging prohibitively
    high security fees for events or banning student groups because of
    ideology.”

    “If the court finds the institution guilty, it has six years to change its
    policies before losing access to state funding. Penn State currently receives
    over $250 million annually from the state, an amount which makes up around 10
    percent of its budget.”

    http://www.collegian.psu.edu/news/campus/article_5f50908c-022e-11e8-8abf-d73d75d78aed.html

    TPUSA is giving out monetary awards for young right-wing
    activists.

    “priority will be given to students who led a movement
    or initiative that resulted in positive change (for example, eliminating a
    free speech zone, de-funding a liberal cause on campus, removing a biased and
    untruthful textbook from the curriculum, etc.).”

    As I mentioned before, Charlie Kirk is fighting against
    so-called liberal ideas on campus, including microaggressions, trigger
    warnings, gender neutral language, and safe spaces.

    http://blog.heartland.org/2017/02/kirk-hamachek-of-turning-point-usa-sell-out-heartland-institute-for-talk/

    You can find all their donors, but not the amounts at:

    https://fconline.foundationcenter.org/search/results?collection=990s&activity=form&_new_search=1&keywords=%22Turning+Point+USA%22&fiscal_year=&grantmaker_name=&grantmaker_city=&grantmaker_state=&grantmaker_zip_code=&grantmaker_ein=&sort_by=fiscal_year&sort_order=1

    Even the Robert Kennedy Foundation gave. TPUSA now has $8
    million.

    Lastly, events in Ohio are spiking against TPUSA. Two students did a Comedy Central piece on
    them, you might have seen it.

    Student body elections are in less than a month!

    https://www.thelantern.com/2018/01/all-jokes-aside-pay-us-off-and-well-corrupt-this-usg-election-however-you-want/comment-page-1/#comment-104743

    Oh, I wish to attach three items from a professor from a
    major University. I blocked out the name. She is
    battling Ivan Throne who is harassing, threatening and intimidating her. I am working with her to assure she is
    protected by unions, administration but of course they offer nothing. I am attaching two photos of posters placed on
    the campus to intimidate her. Throne has
    left many messages for her.

    Use my e-mail: dannyweil@protonmail.com It is encrypted for what is it worth. I do have thousands of pages of Koch brother
    documents, internal memos, that show how the game is being played in buying off
    colleges and universities if you want them.

    This stuff must get out

    Be well and if you know of a lawyer who will bring a suit for
    violation of the 501 C 3 let me know for I will work it for free.

  3. Wendy Lynne Lee Jan 30, 2018

    Dear students,

    Turning Point USA might indeed want you. But you want to think very seriously about whether you want to be associated with them.

    According to a recent report by the excellent Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Turning Point USA has likely been engaging in illegal campaign activity. Seems they have their chapter members work for national right-wing Republican campaigns–despite their claim to be non-partisan. This violates their status as a non-profit.

    Need evidence?

    How about from the mouth of Charlie Kirk, the Turning Point USA head? “E-mails and interviews from other former Turning Point employees in South Carolina and Ohio showed crossover between Presidential-campaign work and work for the charity, as well. In South Carolina, a chain of e-mails shows, Kirk asked a Turning Point USA employee to round up students to support Cruz at the behest of two officials with a pro-Cruz super PAC. In a January 25, 2016, e-mail, Drew Ryun, a Turning Point advisory-council member who was helping run one of the pro-Cruz super PACs, asked Kirk to get another Turning Point employee to “send” the super PAC “as many kids as possible.” Ryun, a former deputy director of the Republican National Committee, explained that he needed “as many kids as you can generate for a WSJ piece on efforts in” South Carolina. After Kirk agreed to help, the e-mail thread shows, Kirk coördinated with Dan Tripp, Ryun’s associate at the pro-Cruz super PAC, who headed its operations in South Carolina and is the founder and president of Ground Game Strategies“Yes!” Kirk answered Tripp when asked for help from Turning Point. “What part of SC?”

    Do you really want to be associated with illegal campaign activity?

    Perhaps more troubling, however, are the mounting allegations of flagrant racism among Turning Point members. Consider just one: “Turning Point USA is also alleged to have fostered an atmosphere that is hostile to minorities. Screenshots provided to me by a source show that Crystal Clanton, who served until last summer as the group’s national field director, sent a text message to another Turning Point employee saying, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.””

    Do you really want to be associated with racism?

    Or how about this one–racist and misogynist: “Former Turning Point employees say that the organization was a difficult workplace and rife with tension, some of it racial. Gabrielle Fequiere, a former Turning Point employee, told me that she was the only African-American hired as a field director when she worked with the group, three years ago. “In looking back, I think it was racist,” she said. “At the time, I was blaming myself, and I thought I did something wrong.” Fequiere, who now works as a model, recalled that the young black recruits that she brought into the organization suddenly found themselves disinvited from the group’s annual student summit, and that when she herself attended, she watched speakers there who “spoke badly about black women having all these babies out of wedlock. It was really offensive.””

    Does this sound like it fits your values?

    Turning Point USA runs Professor Watchlist. Here’s a bibliography of sources, along with my own experience with TPUSA at my university–Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. TPUSA may advertise itself as free-market libertarian–but that is nothing but a front:

    https://www.academia.edu/35322691/Letter_to_My_Colleagues_Concerning_Turning_Point_USA_and_Professor_Watchlist_Its_Time_for_Courage_and_Conviction.

    Do you really want to be associated with an organization whose primary mission is to intimidate and silence professors?

    You have the right to belong to any association you wish. But if these facts do not represent your values, Turning Point USA is not your organization.

    If you have friends, especially among the College Republicans, who are thinking about joining Turning Point show them these sources–especially the bibliography–and then ask them if they have any friends who might be gay, or African American, or female, or Muslim. And then ask them why, if Turning Point isn’t an organ of the Alt-Right, they’re promoted by Alt-Right sources like Breitbart, Truth Revolt, and GAB.

    Here are some other sources:

    https://www.alternet.org/four-fake-threats-free-speech-campus

    https://thebaffler.com/the-poverty-of-theory/no-re-turning-point-u-s-a

    https://academeblog.org/2017/12/18/how-the-alt-right-seeks-to-sabotage-the-university/

    Wendy Lynne Lee, Professor
    Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

    1. Claire Alison Feb 5, 2018

      Hi Wendy! I am the president of TPUSA CSUN and I can assure you that we are not at all what you labeled us to be! We welcome all people of any gender or race to join our club! We are, in fact, non-partisan and we do not campaign for any candidate! Our club simply focuses in free speech, free markets, and limited government. We do not delve into social issues whatsoever. Our members are free to promote/support any one they wish on their own, private time. While we do not agree with what every TPUSA chapter does, we still feel that the organization stands for a good cause. Please stop by for one our events to discuss this further. Maybe you’ll see how much a benefit we are to this campus!

      1. Wendy Lynne Lee Feb 5, 2018

        Greetings Ms. Alison,

        One of the most important things I teach my own students in my Critical Thinking course is to look beyond what is said–to what is, in fact, done. It’s unfortunate to be sure that you apparently haven’t availed yourself of any of the sources I have provided, but I assure you TPUSA is not non-partisan, its members have a well-evidenced pattern of racist behavior and claims, and TPUSA is patently not about “free markets.” It’s truly as simple as this: the evidence–and it is immense–speaks for itself. What TPUSA says i its mission statement and what it DOES are radically different things. I invite you to examine this for yourself: https://www.academia.edu/3583444/Turning_Point-USA_Contunuous_Bibliography_of_Relevant_Documentation.

        I note too that you don’t mention Professor Watchlist. As I made clear in my comment above–that all by itself is woefully inconsistent with TPUSA’s stated commitment to free speech. Its aim is to intimidate, harass, and repress academic speech–and it’s very effective. The trouble for TPUSA is that there are professors like myself who can see through their veneer of a mission statement and who recognize a with hunt when they see one. I have been assaulted by TPUSA–and I can’t imagine you’re OK with that.

        Examine the sources I have provided, and then ask yourself whether you really want to be identified with the Alt-Right. I’ll bet you don’t. I’ll even bet that most of your TP-CSUN friends don’t. Fact is you are being USED by TPUSA. It is the money and career making SCAM of its founder, Charlie Kirk who is simply riding the FOX-News-Train to more lucrative opportunities–on the backs of college students. College–work he thought he was too good for, but not you. Charlie Kirk exploits fake claims about college professors “indoctrinating” students–but the real victims are the students he’s exploiting to advance his own fame and fortune.

        Hope this is helpful.

        Professor Lee

  4. College Meltdown Jan 30, 2018

    Turning Point USA is a pro-Bannon youth group that uses dirty tricks and money from billionaires to rig student government elections. They are ant-feminist, racist, and anti-intellectual. And now they are working to enact legislation that guarantees hate speech on campus. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/charlie-kirk-turning-point-usa-instigate-racial-conflict-dahn-shaulis/

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