LETTER: Turning Point USA’s harmful rhetoric should not be welcome at K-State

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This letter to the editor was written by Kayla Clark, senior in political science. If you would like to write a letter to the Collegian, send us an email at letters@kstatecollegian.com or visit kstatecollegian.com/contact.

On the evening of March 28, the Student Governing Association voted to allocate $3,000 to Turning Point USA to bring three speakers to our university “to discuss the importance of freedom of speech and the First Amendment in today’s society in an open and civil manner.”

On the surface, this objective seems reasonable and unconcerning. I am writing to the student body to inform you that TPUSA and the speakers they are bringing to our campus are, in my view, extremely concerning.

TPUSA has created a reputation for itself that clashes with K-State’s values of diversity and inclusion. Crystal Clanton, the former second-in-command to TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk, resigned from her position after a screenshot of a racist text message Clanton sent to another TPUSA employee surfaced. The text read: “I hate black people. Like f*** them all. . . . I hate blacks. End of story.”

Last year, at a TPUSA conference, attendees were told they needed to “expose Islam” for the “ugly thing” it is. I urge students to research more of the racist, Islamaphobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric TPUSA has promoted. There are a plethora of other examples that I cannot fit into this letter. The Anti-Defamation League has an extensive article on the issue, with credible sources.

I also ask students to look into TPUSA’s “Professor Watchlist,” a database of professors that are deemed to be “discriminatory” against conservative students. Professors have reported being harassed and threatened after having their name put in the database, which often misquotes the professors or takes their quotes out of context.

As a political science major, it is extremely concerning to me that my professors may end up on this list. My professors have done an excellent job of staying unbiased while teaching controversial subjects. However, after browsing the Professor Watchlist, it seems that some professors are being added to the list for views they express outside of the classroom. Professors should not be subject to harassment and threats because of what they decide to support in their personal lives.

In regards to the speakers TPUSA is bringing to campus, Elijah Schaffer is, in my opinion, the most concerning. On his Twitter, he frequents the slur “tranny” when referring to transgender people, claims a Muslim woman wearing a hijab is a human rights violation and compares fellow white people calling him out for his racism to “when blacks sold out other blacks as slaves during the colonial times.”

TPUSA often preaches the philosophy that “Hate Speech = Free Speech.” You may have your free speech in this country, but your hate speech is not welcome on our campus. SGA and university administrators preach about our “K-State Family” but allow racist, transphobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric to be spread on our campus. K-State has proven beyond a doubt that students from minority populations are not a priority.

Kayla Clark is a senior in political science. The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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