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Christian university student leaders refuse to approve conservative club

The university said TPUSA’s conservative ideology did not play a part in the decision

Student government leaders at Point Loma Nazarene University denied Turning Point USA’s request to become a chartered club.

The leaders and a university official at the private Christian university in San Diego said there was “misalignment” between TPUSA activities and the Associated Student Body mission statement.

“Misalignment between that mission statement and TPUSA publications and activities was the primary basis for denial,” university spokesperson Jill Monroe told The College Fix in an email.

While Jenna Moses, the director of student relations for the Associated Student Body, ultimately made the decision to decline TPUSA as a campus club, the director of community life and other members of the ASB Board of Directors at Point Loma weighed in and supported the club’s denial. The board functions as the executive team for the student government.

“The director of community life was consulted as the staff advisor and liaison to ASB and per the ASB Handbook for Clubs and Societies, although this role has no authority on the decision,” Monroe told The Fix.

“Because the decision is so discretionary, the director of student relations chose to also consult the rest of the ASB Board of Directors,” she said.

The Board of Directors allegedly were wary of the TPUSA club due to their belief that the group intends to engage in harmful attacks rather than healthy discussions.

“The general opinion of the student BoD was that TPUSA’s intended purpose seems to be generating unnecessary conflict rather than fostering helpful communication and would likely be a net detriment to the PLNU community,” Monroe told The Fix.

“The decision to not charter TPUSA was not based on ideological beliefs or biases,” the board of directors wrote in an open letter in the student paper The Point at the end of April.

Denying club is how the school promotes an ‘inclusive environment’

In explaining the denial of the group, the directors said they wanted an “inclusive environment” and “ to foster an environment that supports our students in these dialogues on many sides.”

The student leaders said that there are a number of activism groups on campus, including Students for Life, College Democrats and Young Americans for Freedom.

The directors shared the same reasons for denial that the university spokesperson shared with The Fix.

“The TPUSA representatives were provided an extensive list of those areas of misalignment,” Monroe said. She told The Fix that two areas included “the aggressive, conflict-oriented language throughout TPUSA published material” and “ the professor watchlist maintained by TPUSA, which singles out educators whose views contradict those held by the organization.”

A leader in the stalled TPUSA chapter said she wanted to start the club to encourage civil discussion.

“Our mission for TPUSA at [PLNU] is ultimately to open up a conversation because we feel that, in general, a lot of organizations, clubs and the media out there today silence opinions,” Annalise Welsh told the Point.

The group had signed up over 100 interested students, according to a post on TPUSA’s website.

“We want to show people that conservatives aren’t always these terrible, racist people,” Welsh said. “I feel like the right, or just people that aren’t left-leaning or centrist, are sometimes made out to be something that they really aren’t by the media.”

Welsh will continue to push for discussion and TPUSA values on campus.

“It’s definitely something that we’re going to continue to fight for because we’re not going to take no for an answer,” Welsh said. She told the paper she will still organize students.

The conservative group’s national spokesperson Andrew Kolvet did not respond to multiple emailed requests for comment and a phone call from The College Fix in the past two weeks that sought information on the next steps for the group and a reaction to the denial.

MORE: University appears to ignore request to ban TPUSA chapter

IMAGE: Turning Point USA/Instagram

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About the Author
Landon Mion - Kennesaw State University