Texas State University President: Student Government Lacks the Power to Ban TPUSA

Demand Democracy free speech protest
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ALANA MASTRANGELO

Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth reiterated the importance of free speech in a statement on Friday, amid a recent vote by the school’s student government to ban the conservative organization Turning Point USA. In her statement, the university president also informed the public that student government “does not have the power to ban a student organization.”

The president of Texas State University, Denise M. Trauth, released a statement on Friday clarifying that despite the school’s student government recently voting to ban the Turning Point USA (TPUSA) student group from campus. According to Trauth, the conservative organization will not be going anywhere.

Trauth’s statement echoed last week’s statement by the Dean of Students, Dr. Margarita Arellano, who also noted that while Texas State’s student government has the free speech rights to debate about the existence of the TPUSA student group on campus, it cannot effectively overturn the free speech rights of the students belonging to the conservative group.

“Earlier this week a resolution was heard by the Texas State University Student Government to ban the student organization Turning Point USA from Texas State,” began Trauth in her statement, “The senators that presented the resolution had every right to do so, just as the students who spoke up against the resolution had the right to voice their opinions and opposition.”

“This debate by Student Government was protected speech as guaranteed by the freedom of expression clause of the First Amendment,” continued the university president, “As a student organization the Student Government has a Constitutionally protected right to debate this issue.”

Student government’s vote to ban TPUSA created backlash among advocates for free speech on campus, and had also prompted reactions from TPUSA founder and executive director Charlie Kirk, Texas land commissioner George P. Bush, and Texas governor Greg Abbott, who expressed their concerns in seeing an attempt to subvert free speech on a university campus.

“Student Government does not have the power to ban a student organization,” affirmed the university president, “Texas State has a policy that prevents a student organization from being banned unless it faces disciplinary sanctions.”

Trauth added that there are “no disciplinary sanctions against Turning Point USA, and, therefore, Turning Point USA will not be banned from Texas State University.”

The university president went on to express the importance of representing “a wide variety of political viewpoints,” adding that these constitutionally protected rights “contribute greatly to the student experience.”

“Texas State will continue to be a place where the voice and ideas of each member of our community can be expressed,” stated Trauth, “We insist that students, faculty, and staff treat one another with dignity and respect in this endeavor.”

After the school’s student government voted to ban the conservative student group, jeering students were seen in a video harassing and shouting profanities at TPUSA members in the hallways of the school. One student can even be heard shouting “white pieces of shit” at TPUSA’s chapter president, who is Hispanic, and the group’s vice president, who is black.

“Even as our ideologies may differ, we are all members of the Bobcat family,” said the university president, reminding the campus community that everyone shares “a set of core values including ones enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

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

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