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By Aidan Mattis

Professors at Santa Clara University have openly rejected the decision of the University Administration to override a previous decision by the Student Senate in a letter to The Santa Clara. Eighty-six professors signed the open letter, claiming that “We all agree that this was a decision that should have been made by students in accordance with their interpretation of the Constitution of the Associated Student Government. We write, therefore, to express our concern about the University administration’s interference with, and undermining of, student decision-making on the campus.”

The University acknowledged the accusation of overreach in the Vice Provost’s statement on the issue, asserting that “the university administration reserves the right to review such decisions, offer guidance on them, and even intervene when necessary if the educational values and mission of the university appear to be undermined.” By denying the request of the students wishing to start the chapter of Turning Point USA, the Student Senate had undermined these values.

The decision to decline the request for a Turning Point USA charter came in the wake of students calling the club a “direct threat”, with the supporting argument that the national organization had been mentioned in a PowerPoint presentation on white supremacist organizations.

The presentation was delivered the previous week by a staff advisor to the Senate.  The presentation also cited groups and individuals such as “Identity Evropa” and Richard Spencer as white supremacists, though it did not directly call TPUSA a white supremacist organization. Turning Point USA makes no claims about race, nationality, or ethnicity in its mission statement or any of its training principles. Founder Charlie Kirk has disavowed any and all claims that TPUSA is related to white supremacy and/or the alt-right.

One Law professor, Stephen Diamond, commented that “Even if wrong, I believe the university administration should have respected the outcome.” He also believes the organization, which is pro-small government, should have respected the decision by SCU student government to limit free speech on campus.

The faculty further addressed the national chapter’s Professor Watchlist. The Watchlist is a database of professors known to be politically biased to an extent that is deemed dangerous to student well being. Professors included are thoroughly investigated and only added if there exist multiple, verifiable cases of extreme bias resulting in student harm or unfair grading.

The Vice Provost also stated that “we will not hold TPUSA-SCU responsible for all actions and activities of the national office or other TPUSA chapters.” David Warne, a Student Senator, explained that he had concerns regarding this, yet “the prospective TPUSA chapter would present itself to Senate as honestly as humanly possible: it would be a non-partisan platform to talk about the facets of economic conservatism.”

The “no” voting members of the Senate provided no evidence to support their claims about Turning Point USA being a “direct threat” to muslims, “against our humanity”,  and that “[the lack of humanity] is something that every single Senator needs to take into consideration when it comes to voting…this is not right, this is not who we stand for as a whole university”.

Andy Hudlow, vice president of Santa Clara’s College Republicans, remarked in an op-ed to The Santa Clara that “Like any legislative body, ASG should have limits. In the same way that the Constitution serves as a check upon Congress’ effort to criminalize the burning of the American flag, SCU’s values and academic mission should prohibit ASG from denying TPUSA RSO status.”

The administration has stood by their decision, and the official recognition of the TPUSA chapter is expected to move forward.


About The Author

Aidan Mattis

Aidan is a first year student at Penn State University, and a proud graduate of Conestoga High School. He is the chapter Vice President of Turning Point USA at Penn State.

  • John Sarsfield

    Santa Clara isn’t a “UC” (Univ. of Calif). It’s a private, Jesuit university.

    • Aidan Mattis

      Thank you, I’ll fix it!

  • Stephen Diamond

    Inexplicably, as I am frequently interviewed by the media and provided a detailed quote to Campus Reform, this reporter failed in his duty to reach out directly to me for a quote, and instead took a partial quote from another news source out of context. I said that the TPUSA chapter should have attempted to use “persuasion” (i.e., speech) to change the minds of their fellow students as the process at Santa Clara allows. Instead they sought help from the Administration, despite longstanding criticism on right of relying on in loco parentis in higher education. Nor is it clear that TPUSA is engaged solely in speech since its Watch List is viewed as a “threat to academic freedom” by the AAUP.

    • Aidan Mattis

      If “academic freedom” is threatened by a watchlist of professors who tell conservative students to go kill themselves, then something is wrong with Academia. You said what you said, and that was that you’re okay with free speech being snuffed out because it was snuffed out by a bunch of liberally biased, left wing fascist college students.

      • Stephen Diamond

        Now you are editorializing – and I am pretty sure you are unfamiliar with the real meaning of fascism but I will leave your instruction in the basics of political theory to my colleagues at Penn State. That’s not journalism. There was no suppression of free speech but a freely reached democratic decision by a self-governing community. I would have thought free market radicals would be ok with that. And of course there was the chance to have a second vote the following quarter. Oh and by the way our letter did not say we as a group opposed the granting of TPUSA RSO status.

        • Aidan Mattis

          Fascism is the use of democratically elected representatives to enact a totalitarian government that maintains nominal private ownership and operation of resources, and nominal freedom of speech, press, or expression.

    • Aidan Mattis

      If you are so concerned, email me and I will sort it out and update the article. It is my journalistic duty to record what you said, not what you supposedly meant.

      • Stephen Diamond

        You wrote: “He also believes the organization, which is pro-small government, should have respected the decision by SCU student government to limit free speech on campus.” I was quoted (accurately) in Campus Record – which you did not attribute – as follows:

        Stephen Diamond, a professor in the School of Law, nonetheless told Campus Reform that he does not think it appropriate for the Vice Provost to “second guess a decision reached by the democratically elected representatives of the student body.”

        “Even if wrong, I believe the university administration should have respected the outcome,” Diamond explained. “I also think TPUSA should have respected the outcome and attempted through persuasion to convince their fellow students to change their minds instead of running to the ‘nanny state’ in the university administration to gain RSO status.”

        • Aidan Mattis

          I paraphrased what you said, rather accurately actually. If you have a problem, email me and we can sort it out. Otherwise, stop complaining about the relaying of your words to the public.

          • StephenDiamond

            Now that my accurate quote, taken by you without attribution, has appeared here I see no reason to continue the discussion.

          • Aidan Mattis

            Then the article will remain as written and people can decide for themselves

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