Information on Turning Point USA

Information from the Vice Provost for Student Life Regarding Turning Point USA as a Registered Student Organization (RSO) 

Outlined below is information regarding Turning Point USA’s (TPUSA-SCU) request to become a Registered Student Organization (RSO) at Santa Clara University.

Timeline: 

  • February 2: The Associated Student Government (ASG) Student Senate voted 16-10 to deny recognition to TPUSA-SCU as an RSO at Santa Clara University.
  • February 7: The leaders of TPUSA-SCU appealed the decision to the Student Court.
  • February 17: The Student Court upheld the Senate’s decision not to recognize TPUSA-SCU as an RSO.*
  • February 27: TPUSA-SCU submitted a challenge to the Vice Provost for Student Life requesting that the University Administration review the decision to deny recognition.

*The court stated that it did not find that the Student Senate violated ASG bylaws in conducting its deliberations and vote; however, the court did not weigh in on the merits of the TPUSA-SCU application for RSO recognition, as the court believed that such judgment was reserved for the Student Senate.

Review Process: 

As stated in the Student Handbook, the University has delegated responsibility for the registration of student organizations to the ASG Student Senate and allows the greatest possible discretion to the Senate in making these judgments. However, the Vice Provost for Student Life maintains authority in these matters and, as articulated in the Student Handbook, 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.

Basis of Challenge:

In the challenge submitted to the Vice Provost for Student Life, TPUSA-SCU identified five key reasons for disputing the decision to deny recognition as an RSO.  

1.     Redundancy with other Clubs

2.     Relationship between TPUSA-SCU and the national organization of Turning Point USA

3.     Connection to Milo Yiannopoulos

4.     The Professor Watchlist

5.     Infringement of Freedom of Speech

Decision:

In my role as Vice Provost for Student Life, I reviewed the concerns raised by TPUSA-SCU and found merit in their challenge.  Following a comprehensive review of available information, with the interest of upholding SCU’s education mission and values, I have decided to recognize Turning Point USA as a Registered Student Organization for the remainder of the 2016-17 academic year. Like all RSOs, TPUSA-SCU will need to follow the appropriate procedures for RSO renewal in all subsequent years.

Rationale for Decision:

The decision to recognize TPUSA-SCU is based on these five points:

1. Redundancy with other Clubs

The University, through ASG, recognizes a wide variety of student organizations, some that have similarities, but none that are directly duplicative.  While similarities may exist across RSOs, it is my opinion that the core purpose of TPUSA-SCU, as expressed in its constitution, is not duplicative of an existing RSO.

2. Relationship between TPUSA-SCU and the national organization of Turning Point

Some students expressed concerns over the actions and activities of the national Turning Point USA organization and campus chapters affiliated with Turning Point USA.  However, consistent with our treatment of other RSOs that have affiliated with a national organization, we will not hold TPUSA-SCU responsible for all actions and activities of the national office or other TPUSA chapters. Rather, the SCU chapter will be held accountable for living up to its stated constitution and following the rules and regulations of the University, the ASG, and RSOs.  

3. Connection to Milo Yiannopoulos

Some students expressed concerns that TPUSA-SCU, if approved as an RSO, might pursue activities (e.g., tabling, activism events, bringing in guest speakers, etc.) that are inconsistent with SCU’s Jesuit values. Every RSO must operate under SCU’s existing event policies that address issues of time, place and manner when inviting speakers to campus.  If any RSO engages in activities that are not explicitly approved by the Center for Student Involvement and do not conform with the University’s event policies, the organization could be subject to loss of its recognition as an RSO.

4. The Professor Watchlist

Santa Clara University does not endorse the Professor Watchlist, a project of the national TPUSA organization, nor does the University have any control over the existence of the Watchlist.

5.   Infringement of Freedom of Speech

The members of TPUSA-SCU are entitled to express openly their views and opinions consistent with the organization’s stated mission “to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.” The decision to grant RSO recognition to TPUSA-SCU cannot be based on whether one agrees or disagrees with the political perspective of the students who are making the petition.