Colorado State University President Compares TPUSA to Blackface and Swastikas

Charlie Kirk speaking with attendees at the 2018 Young Women's Leadership Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Hyatt Regency DFW Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Colorado State University (CSU) President Joyce McConnell sent an email on Friday to the entire CSU student body in which she compared Charlie Kirk and his organization, Turning Point USA, to “blackface” and a swastika.

“We know you are angry, frustrated, tired and sad about these events on campus. We are taking swift action,” said CSU president McConnell in an email addressed to “all students, faculty and staff” obtained by Breitbart News.

McConnell’s email was initially addressing a recent incident in which CSU students were reported to have worn “blackface” — commonly seen in resurfaced photos of left-wing politicians — as well as in regards to a swastika that was allegedly found drawn on a university apartment building.

But then, the university president oddly segued the content of her email from instances of racism, to an upcoming CSU event featuring TPUSA founder and executive director Charlie Kirk.

A TPUSA spokesperson confirmed to Breitbart News that among the students involved in the previously reported “blackface” incident, none of them are or ever have been affiliated with the school’s TPUSA chapter.

“Blackface is racist and dehumanizing. The swastika is an abhorrent and abiding symbol of anti-Semitism,” states McConnell in her email. “Acts of bias and racism are widespread across the country and the globe, but they should not be happening on the CSU campus.”

The university president then went on to say that the campus community must come together to “unanimously reject acts like these, and work on accountability,” before stating — in her next sentence — that she had just “learned” of the upcoming TPUSA event.

“We also learned Wednesday night that a student group exercising its First Amendment right to invite speakers to campus invited Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk to speak on campus on October 22,” said McConnell, bizarrely conflating Kirk and his conservative organization with racism and Nazism.

The university president then accused Kirk’s presence of having “sparked protests” at CSU and on college campuses across the country.

“We know that we must denounce hateful acts swiftly and powerfully and when we do things with negative consequences,” added McConnell, “many of you lose faith that CSU is acting on its Principles of Community.”

“We know you are angry, frustrated, tired and sad about these events on campus. We are taking swift action. We ask you to join with us, not to do all this work yourselves but to help us do the work that will make this a university where hate has no place,” continued the university president.

Charlie Kirk reacted to McConnell’s email in a statement to Breitbart News.

The recent email sent to the entire CSU student body by President Joyce McConnell is as shockingly ignorant as it is dangerously irresponsible. By conflating me and TPUSA with abhorrent racial acts that stand in direct opposition to our organization’s mission, she has placed hundreds of TPUSA chapter members directly in harm’s way. These are students that are part of a student-led chapter in good standing and fully recognized by the university. They are now at risk of being doxed, harassed and even physically assaulted because of President McConnell’s shameful email. This is not hyperbole. We’ve seen similar events at other universities, most recently at UT Austin. All CSU students and parents, along with our entire organization, deserve a prompt correction and a written apology for smearing these amazing young people, students who had zero connection with any recent racist acts at CSU.

Kirk went on to suggest that the university president conduct research before engaging in such rhetoric.

“President McConnell would also do well to review the footage of two recent speeches I’ve given in her own state — one at CSU and another at UC Boulder — where I explicitly condemn white ethno-nationalism as hateful, vile and un-American,” said Kirk.

“Equating good people with hate just because they are conservative, must stop,” he added. “We plan on pursuing every available recourse for this flagrant abuse and defamation by CSU’s president to help ensure that it does.”

You can hear Kirk condemning ethno-nationalism at an event on CSU’s campus last year, here.

At a University of Colorado, Boulder event last year, Kirk stated that “it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter your religion, it doesn’t matter your skin color — we are great because despite the melanin in your skin, or where you come from, you come here, you believe in a core set of ideas, you are an American. Period.”

Moments later, when a CU Boulder student confronted Kirk at the event by claiming that “all of the best” Olympic competitors are of “European stock,” Kirk responded by accusing the student of verging on “white nationalism.”

“I want nothing to do with ethno-nationalism, or anything like that,” affirmed Kirk. “I condemn. I disavow, and that is not true — hold on a second — you don’t understand what you just said, how ridiculous that is — you couldn’t be more wrong.”

Kirk will be speaking at Colorado State University on October 22, alongside featured guest speaker Donald Trump Jr.

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

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