The Turning Point Fiasco: Could organization be operating on campus?

Turning Point USA

Charlie Kirk’s strategic modus operandi to take over student governments nationwide

Turning Point USA is a 501(c)(3) that was founded in 2012 to organize conservative students on college and high school campuses. The founder Charlie Kirk has started several other projects in conjunction with Turning Point USA, such as Professor Watchlist, a racist and pro-fascist surveillance method to exploit ideas of justice and impunity. Professor Watchlist aims to expose and report professors that “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” This watchlist furthers the McCarthy-esque ideology that Turning Point USA enforces.

Although Turning Point USA is deemed a nonprofit, it operates as anything but. For instance, it is required to be nonpartisan and cannot endorse any political campaigns or candidates. However, Turning Point USA continuously invites pro-Trump speakers to its conferences and has contributed to two different candidates in the recent presidential campaign.

The nonprofit has claimed to have helped more than 50 conservative students get elected to student-body presidential positions, even at predominantly liberal-oriented campuses. It aims to organize and formulate a dedicated cohort of conservative students rooted in supporting a limited government and limited liberalism in academia. For a campaign called Campus Victory, the organization raised more than $2 million to fund a long-term strategy directed at electing conservative students at top leadership roles on campuses across the nation. This right-leaning organization hired 12 full-time staffers for the campaign who were tasked with identifying potential conservative candidates for leadership positions in student government and offer support to them. This support sometimes came in the form of “stipends” that range anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Max Goldfarb, a successful candidate who utilized the organization’s support, attempted to defund the Muslim Student Association at the University of Wisconsin. Although his request was rejected, the committee ultimately decided to reduce the MSA’s budget. This is alarming, to say the least, and the work that Turning Point USA conclusively encourages does not seem to instill good intentions among its target demographic. To add to this, the organization’s claims of influence across several campuses do not appear to be true. Many of the college and high school candidates that Turning Point USA claims to have endorsed do not attest to working with the organization. Thus, this implies that the nonprofit operates on fabrication and dishonesty.

Additionally, there is an overt racist ideology beneath the organization’s purpose, especially with Charlie Kirk’s views on how white privilege does not exist and how affirmative action is the reason for his loss of appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. Students are extremely impressionable and assume they are infallible, yet they fail to realize that Kirk is inherently trying to implement an ideology and dogma that operates on the facilitation of a form of McCarthyism.

Across the nation, a noticeable sweep of conservative students were elected in student government leadership roles last year, specifically to the Associated Students of the University of California. Each UC noticed emerging leaders who were quite disparate in their beliefs from previous leaders in the respective positions — and the consequential wave proved it could not merely be a coincidence.

At Davis, it’s not crystal clear what slates or candidates have been endorsed by this organization, or whether it even operates here. Yet one thing is clear: this organization does not have any space in Davis to thrive or cultivate. Given the equitable culture activists hope to instill and the rise of marginalized groups feeling inferior, an organization that promotes this fear and intimidation is not welcome. The Principles of Community is the statement our university abides by profoundly, yet if it is not unequivocally evident whether an organization — one that violates the commitments explicitly written in these principles — operates underground on this campus, it’s clear that we as a community have some digging to do.

 

Written by: Kauser Adenwala –– ksadenwala@ucdavis.edu

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