A college chapter of Turning Point USA, a free-market student group, was recently denied club status at Wartburg College because their mission of “free speech, free markets, and limited government” is out of sync with the school’s values. However, as the student government pointed out recently, it might have more to do with the group's strong denouncement of socialism by using the words "Socialism sucks" as their motto.
Despite the fact that a student government senate subcommittee specializing in campus clubs recommended the TPUSA chapter for approval, five senators voted to approve the group while 24 voted against it. The vote against official recognition came days after TPUSA chapter leaders collaborated with the senate subcommittee to make various modifications to their chapter constitution in order to comply with campus rules.
Emily Russell and Haley Cannon, the two students starting the Turning Point USA chapter, attribute their club’s rejection to politically motivated censorship. Student leadership slammed the organization’s popular catch-phrase “Socialism sucks,” over the use of the mildly offensive word “suck.”
“Wartburg already has 180 groups on campus. I just can’t imagine what is going to come after we approve or disapprove this group. Is someone going to not like the color of the room and start a group?” one student government member stated during the hearing.
After the Wartburg College student government vetoed forming the group, Ali McGough, a field director for the organization, reached out to Wartburg Dean of Students Daniel Kittle to find out their reasoning.
“If you could provide a little insight as to why we were denied after getting a recommendation from the subcommittee as well as what the appeal process is moving forward, that would great,” McGough emailed.
“In short, I believe that the Student Senate body were concerned that the values of Turning Point, as evidenced by expressed tactics, were not in line with the values of Wartburg College,” Kittle responded in part.
Wartburg student body President Naomi Alene took issue with activism sponsored by the national organization.
"One of the red flags for me was some of the tactics that the national chapter had, which is why they had to have an amendment to their constitution adding in that the would abide by Wartburg's mission before the national chapter's," Alene told KWWL, a local news station in Iowa.
“Wartburg College is dedicated to challenging and nurturing students for lives of leadership and service as a spirited expression of their faith and learning,” according to the college’s website.
Wartburg College is home to LGBTQIA Alliance, Students for Justice, multiple feminist groups, a Black Student Union, and the College Democrats. The only conservative presence is the Wartburg College Republicans. Ironically, the campus may really need a free speech oriented group if they are offended by the phrase "Socialism Sucks!"
The Washington Examiner reached out to Wartburg College for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Devin Sena (@DevinSenaUI) is a Florida based photographer and journalist.