Baylor, TCU deny recognition to conservative student group Turning Point USA

The campus of Baylor University, a private Christian school in Waco, Texas.
The campus of Baylor University, a private Christian school in Waco, Texas. | (Photo: Baylor University/Matthew Minard)

Christian higher education institutions Baylor University and Texas Christian University have both reportedly denied official campus recognition to chapters of the national conservative student organization Turning Point USA, which is active on hundreds of college campuses. 

Students at both Texas-based institutions spoke to Breitbart News recently about how their quests to get official recognition for chapters of the student organization founded by conservative activist Charlie Kirk have been unsuccessful. 

Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for Media & Public Relations at Baylor, did not explain why the group was denied but told CP that the university "currently has three very active conservative student organizations on our campus: Baylor College Republicans, Baylor Young Americans for Freedom, and Baylor Young Conservatives of Texas."

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TCU did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Turning Point USA at Baylor Chapter President Oliver Mintz told Breitbart, a conservative online news outlet, that the denial "was biased, plain and simple.” 

According to Mintz, he and others involved in Baylor Turning Point USA have worked unsuccessfully for months to obtain official campus recognition at the world’s largest Baptist university based in Waco. 

He said that the university’s student activities department has offered little communication with the group and hasn't explained its reasons for denying the club.  

Mintz said that school officials were “unable to provide us with any reason for the denial” at a formal meeting, during which the club’s recognition was officially denied. 

However, Mintz recalled school officials making a vague reference to Turning Point USA’s “methodology.” 

“They also brought up concerns about the leadership of the organization once our current leadership and founders graduate by saying that they were worried about a ‘drop-off’ and ‘decline’ with future leadership,” he said. “This could be said about any club on campus whether it’s the knitting club or a political organization.”

Breitbart notes that on Dec. 17, 2019, Mintz sent an email asking for a list of reasons why Turning Point USA was denied recognition at Baylor.  

After receiving no response, he reached out again in mid-February to request a list of reasons from the Director of Student Activities Matt Burchett. Mintz has yet to receive any list of reasons why the club was denied.

“We firmly understand that Baylor, as a private university, has the absolute right to deny us a charter,” he admitted. “However, by denying us, they are showing us their true colors — that they are against free speech and against conservative values being presented on campus.”

At TCU, a 10,000-student institution affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) based in Fort Worth, Breitbart reported on Monday that three students who have tried to get an official Turning Point USA chapter recognized at TCU since last summer have been denied.

TCU student Lauren McCoy told the news outlet that she is the last person to try to start a Turning Point USA club at TCU, beginning her application process in January. 

“The approval process should take three or so weeks,” she was quoted as saying. “Instead, it took nearly all semester until April 15 for them to make their decision to deny my request. I did everything they asked me to in a diligent, respectful, and prompt manner.”

The students were reportedly told that the group was denied for “sustainability” concerns on grounds that the club might dissolve after senior members graduate. However, McCoy argues that the administration’s excuse is not valid because she expects the club to grow.

“I made an executive board of students ranging from freshmen to juniors who are all active students on campus,” McCoy explained. “Of course, the entire point of a student organization is to have the ability to reach out to other students, letting the club be known, and gain members.”

Turning Point USA TCU Vice President Reagan Gates told the news outlet that it is “important to give a space to like-minded students where we can all learn and grow together with our common values.”

“That is something TCU promotes, yet has denied us,” Gates argued, adding that the TCU is “denying a home for the quiet conservatives on campus and hushing our voice.”

McCoy launched a petition, calling on TCU to formally recognize Turning Point USA. A similar petition was launched by Mintz, calling on Baylor to grant recognition to the group. 

TCU and Baylor are not the first institutions to deny official recognition to Turning Point USA chapters. Other schools that have in the past denied recognition to the group include Drake University in Iowa, the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, Northwestern University in Illinois. Other conservative student organizations like Young Americans for Freedom have also complained that they are often denied recognition on campuses. 

Turning Point USA seeks to “identify educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.” 

The organization has received scrutiny from the Anti-Defamation League because it allegedly garnered support from so-called “alt-lite” activists. 

In 2017, African American commentator Candace Owens became the organization's communications director. Owens resigned from her role in May 2019 to start Blexit. 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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