The student senate at Santa Clara University rejected a petition to form a campus chapter of Turning Points USA, a conservative activism group, because opponents of the group complained that its presence would make them feel “unsafe” — and because of the “mood” on campus since Donald Trump was elected president.
A full-time school employee also primed Santa Clara student senators with a lengthy PowerPoint presentation associating Turning Points USA with vile, fringe white supremacist groups.
The rejection occurred on Thursday night during a meeting of the Associated Student Government at the Jesuit bastion in the thick of Silicon Valley.
The Feb. 2 student senate meeting generated a standing-room-only crowd.
The petitioners gave a short presentation about their desire to form a campus chapter of Turning Point USA, a national student activist group which endorses “fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”
Then, for roughly an hour, a group of about 50 students — and also a smattering of school employees — spoke about how they adamantly oppose allowing a few students to form a conservative-oriented campus organization.
“It was a lot of repetitive stuff,” Caleb Alleva, one of the Turning Points USA petitioners, told The Daily Caller.
Opponents of the group insisted that a group promoting free trade and limited government on campus would make them feel “unsafe,” Alleva told TheDC.
“They were saying they were in danger but they couldn’t cite any facts,” the junior explained.
“A lot of them are lying about being afraid or they are genuinely in fear because of this false sense of danger promulgated by the media that anyone who is vaguely conservative is a Nazi or a white supremacist,” Alleva said.
At a Jan. 26 meeting of the Santa Clara student senate, a university employee provided senators with a PowerPoint entitled “White Nationalist, Alt-Right & Other Groups on College Campuses.”
David Warne, a Santa Clara student senator, described the document to TheDC.
“The order of the presentation goes like this: White Nationalists—>Alt-Right—>Identity Evropa—>Richard Spencer—>Milo Yiannopoulos—>Turning Point USA,” Warne wrote in an email.
Identity Evropa, a hardcore white supremacist organization with members who sport neo-Hitler haircuts, recently targeted the Santa Clara campus with some posters. “No one thinks these posters were put up by students,” Warne noted.
— IDENTITY EVROPA (@IdentityEvropa) January 31, 2017
Richard Spencer is a white nationalist with a meager following that is dwarfed by the annual gathering of dudes who like to dress up in “My Little Pony” outfits. (RELATED: White Nationalist Leader Richard Spencer Defends Conference Attendance Compared To BronyCon)
“The club itself was early on connected with white supremacists, and indeed by someone on the university payroll,” Warne told TheDC.
“I believe what happened is they were told Turning Points USA is a white supremacy organization,” Alleva said.
The crowd opposing a Turning Points USA chapter on the Santa Clara campus made an especially big deal about Yiannopoulos, an openly gay Breitbart News editor and Donald Trump supporter.
“They kept trying to lump us together with Milo,” Alleva said.
Neither Identity Evropa, nor Spencer, nor Yiannopoulos are affiliated with Turning Points USA.
Some Turning Points USA chapters on college campuses around the United States have invited Yiannopoulos to speak.
The staffer who provided the PowerPoint document “later regretted putting TPUSA in the same slide show, and admitted it was inappropriate,” Warne said.
At the Feb. 2 student senate meeting, the opponents of the Santa Clara Turning Points USA chapter strongly objected to Professor Watchlist, a Turning Points USA-created website database that publishes the names and exploits of professors at schools across the country who — according to Turning Points USA — “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
Critics of Professor Watchlist describe it as “essentially a new species of McCarthyism” that endangers academic freedom.
Turning Points USA spokesman Matt Lamb contacted Samantha Kibbish, Santa Clara’s assistant director of student organizations, to ask about the student senate rejection.
“She told the club to re-apply next quarter,” Lamb told TheDC. “She also said that one reason the student senate likely rejected us was because of the ‘mood’ after the last election.”
In the end, the 26 student senators present voted 16 to 10 to deny the Turning Points USA campus charter.
The students and staffers who objected to the Santa Clara Turning Points USA chapter “primarily came from” the MultiCultural Center and the Santa Clara Community Action Program, two campus groups “with university funding and vast university resources,” Warne noted.
In an email to Alleva on Friday, Santa Clara student senator Karsten Andersen suggested that the students who want to found a Turning Points USA chapter “become the Free Trade Club” instead. “Another concern was the similarity to the political groups on campus,” she wrote.
Among the impressively large number of student groups which already exist at Santa Clara are Her Campus Santa Clara, HeForShe at Santa Clara University, SCU Vagina Monologues and Together for Ladies of Color. There’s also the Santa Clara Harry Potter Club, the Super Smash Bros Club and the Hipnotik Hip-hop Dance Group.
The next step for the students who want to form a Turning Points USA chapter at Santa Clara is to petition the judicial branch of the student senate.