The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling on Worcester State University in Worcester, Massachusetts, to grant club status to Turning Point USA, which was denied recognition by the school’s student government.
The student government association (SGA) at Worcester State University (WSU) has denied official recognition for the Turning Point USA student group on campus.
While many universities allow their student governments to have a certain degree of autonomy, school administrators have also been known to intervene and override resolutions that may involve student government members exuding their personal political biases through the decisions that they make regarding their conservative peers.
Last year, for example, Texas State University reiterated the importance of free speech by overriding the student government’s decision to ban TPUSA from campus.
Now, FIRE is calling on the University of Worcester to do the same.
“If the SGA’s rejection of TPUSA Worcester is not reversed, WSU will have failed in its constitutional obligation to uphold its students’ rights to freedom of expression and association,” wrote FIRE in a letter to the university, obtained by Breitbart News.
“WSU fundamentally abandons its First Amendment obligations to free speech and freedom of association when it acts to stifle expressive activity on the basis that others do or might find it objectionable or offensive,” the organization added.
FIRE also noted that the student senators had questioned TPUSA Worcester members about subjective issues, such as how the group would ensure that other students felt “safe and comfortable” with TPUSA on campus, among other things.
The SGA members had also brought up concerns about TPUSA’s potential impact on the “campus climate.”
At the conclusion of the SGA’s meeting with TPUSA Worcester members, the student senators went into a private executive session, only to emerge 40 minutes later to inform the TPUSA students that the motion to approve their group had been denied.
FIRE maintains that the rejection of TPUSA Worcester over its potential impact on “campus climate” is viewpoint discriminatory.
“This is viewpoint discrimination, plain and simple,” said FIRE’s Katlyn Patton to Breitbart News. “WSU and its student government are public institutions and have an obligation to protect students’ rights to freedom of expression and association.”
“The student government’s decision here, and WSU’s failure to correct it, represent a disappointing abdication of that obligation,” added Patton. “The fact that other students may find TPUSA’s views objectionable is not an acceptable reason to withhold official university recognition, and the benefits that come with that recognition, from TPUSA or any other proposed student organization.”
FIRE requested that the university respond by April 13. The organization has yet to receive a reply.
A spokesperson for the university told Breitbart News: “”Worcester State University is in the process of responding to FIRE’s request. Student Government has policies for how it governs its decisions and can be found on our website.”