Texas State University Students Demand Censorship of TPUSA in the Name of ‘Free Speech’

Free Speech College
AFP PHOTO/Josh Edelson

Students at Texas State University are demanding that the Turning Point USA student group on campus be banned from the school in the name of free speech. The university’s student government has agreed to vote on a resolution on Monday, April 8, to decide whether it will censor the conservative group.

Members of Texas State University’s student government introduced a resolution, entitled, the “Faculty and Student Safety Resolution of 2019” calling on the “immediate removal and barring of Turning Point USA from Texas State University and suggest[ed] protecting minority and marginalized populations from their negative campus influence.”

The resolution goes on to list several different accusations about the conservative student group, while arguing that free speech can only be protected on campus by way of silencing TPUSA’s speech on campus.

“The University and Student Government hope to foster a learning environment in which one can learn without fear of discrimination, intimidation, or censorship,” claims the resolution, adding that TPUSA is an exception to free speech, justifying this argument by insisting the group “uses their placement on campus to harass, intimidate, threaten student and faculty as they see fit.”

“Protecting hate speech under the guise that it is a component of free speech or academic freedom is counter-intuitive to providing a safe, healthy, fact-based evidence-based environment,” affirms the resolution, despite the reality that “hate speech” is in fact free speech, as there is no exception to it in the First Amendment, and how hate speech is determined is subject to continuous change.

Texas governor Greg Abbott reacted to Texas State student government’s legislation in a tweet on Tuesday, reminding the public that “the Texas Senate just passed a bill mandating free speech on college campuses” and that he looks forward to signing it into law.

“But it’s crazy we have to pass a law to uphold the First Amendment,” added the governor.

The news of the anti-TPUSA resolution had also caught the attention of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who tweeted his sentiments on Wednesday, calling the move a “blatant disregard of free speech.”

In a student government meeting on Monday, several students expressed their reservations with the TPUSA student group. One student, who introduced herself as the vice president of the Texas College Democrats, even claimed that students and faculty are fearing for their safety, and are unable to walk the halls of the university without being in fear of “the rhetoric.”

“Students and faculty are fearing their jobs, and their safety getting to and from class,” said the vice president, “and so that is what this legislation is supposed to be doing, is to protect those students, it’s not take away people’s voice, it’s not to take away their beliefs, it is to protect students who are fearing those.”

“We have had multiple students say that they are afraid,” she continued, “I have walked students to and from classes, post the 2016 election, who were afraid to get to their classes, because of the rhetoric, because of the hate speech flyers.”

Another student, however, had a different take on the matter.

“In a lot of ways, I feel like kicking off an organization that believes that liberals do nothing but de-platform conservatives on college campuses kind of proves them right,” noted the student.

“So I just want to clarify, the intention of this piece [to ban TPUSA] is not at all to infringe on anyone’s freedom of speech,” said a third student, “It is actually in protection of freedom of speech — If you were in favor of free speech then you would be in favor of this piece [to ban TPUSA].”

“I’m not trying to, like, silence conservative voices at all,” continued the student, attempting to clarify her bizarre assertion, “If I was trying to do that, then I would be, like, I would just write a piece that says all conservative [organizations], like, get disbanded, but that’s not what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to get TPUSA away from Texas State.”

Texas State TPUSA chapter president Stormi Rodrigeuz was among the students present at the meeting who stepped forward to voice their concerns.

“For the governing body of a public university to have legislation put forward to bar a student organization from campus is an insult, not just to Texas State and our surrounding community, but to the very founding principals that created the country we are currently in,” said Rodrigeuz.

“I will stand up for my officers, I will stand up for my members, and I will stand up for all of the conservatives on this campus.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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