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Free speech victory: Wichita State student court overturns Turning Point USA club denial

Student senators said it would not be ‘safe’ to allow the free-market club on campus

The supreme court for Wichita State’s student government approved the Turning Point USA group, overruling the objections of student senators. The decision allows the free-market student group to have official status at the university starting immediately.

The majority opinion said the Student Senate violated the federal Constitution, the Student Government Association Constitution and the Student Bill of Rights by denying the group official status.

The denial had to be overturned because it uses “viewpoint discrimination as the basis for denying an organization official RSO status,” the October 27 ruling said.

The majority opinion said there were only two reasons cited for the vote against TPUSA — “the affiliation of TPUSA WSU with an outside organization” and “the perception of the political viewpoints of TPUSA and TPUSA WSU” student justices Naielle Lucella and Jacob Armstrong wrote.

The free-market student group met all requirements for Registered Student Organization status and “no facts have been entered into record which would allow [the court] to interpret the decision against TPUSA WSU as anything other than viewpoint discrimination.”

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Student senators at the public Kansas university objected to the TPUSA group on the grounds of safety.

“It should absolutely be a priority that all students feel safe, and I do understand that promoting groups to have a voice is incredibly important,” student senator Victoria Owens said during an October 21 meeting, “however you can not have a voice if you are unsafe.” It’s not clear how she voted, though a senator peer opposed the group but voted for approval.

“I encourage everyone in this organization … to deeply consider the consequences of the type of blind nationalism this organization is encouraging,” student senator Kathlynn Short said, according to campus paper The Sunflower. She said she would vote for the group because it fulfilled all RSO requirements.

“I am frequently proud to be an American,” Short said, “but it is important to recognize and celebrate the myriad of cultures and identities that come from other great nations, especially those that are represented on our campus.”

No further comment on what was wrong with TPUSA

Prior to the court decision, a university spokesperson deferred questions to the SGA when asked about the denial vote.

The Fix emailed the student government relations email twice in the past two weeks to ask for an explanation on why SGA denied the TPUSA group but did not receive a response.

The denial prevented the group from being able “to reserve spaces for free” though the group could “meet as an unofficial organization,” an October 25 email from the Wichita State TPUSA chapter to The College Fix said.

“The recent denial of official recognition of the Wichita TPUSA chapter is clearly unfair and yet another egregious example of anti-conservative bias,” national Turning Point spokesperson Andrew Kolvet told The College Fix via email, prior to the approval of the group.

MORE: Two professors threaten peers for advising TPUSA chapter

IMAGE: Turning Point USA/Twitter

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Nicholas Kelley is a seminary track student at Boyce College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to his studies Nicholas volunteers at the theology and music departments of his church.