DERBY

Turning Point denied Union club status

Hello everyone! Welcome back for the Spring semester! I hope that you all enjoyed your Winter Break and the holiday season. I know that the time at home to see my friends and family was a wonderful break from the daily grind and provided a chance to refresh and recharge as we dive into another semester at RPI. Though I will say that I missed the longer Winter Breaks that we had prior to the Arch, the extended summer will be more than worth it once May rolls around.

The Executive Board spared no time diving into our duties, with this past Thursday being marked by a discussion regarding Turning Point USA, a highly controversial organization nationally. During the meeting, the executive committee of Turning Point USA came before the Executive Board of the Rensselaer Union to petition to become a Rensselaer Union affiliated club. Like all organizations seeking such recognition, TPUSA went through the Executive Board’s outlined policies and procedures, successfully completed all tasks assigned, and garnered quite a large following on campus. Their organization expressed interest in programming that held true to their mission statement and offered a space on this campus for individuals who hold conservative values to gather and discuss topics important to them.

Turning Point USA, however, is an organization that is rife with politically charged positions at a national level that have proven controversial. The national organization has been linked to many activists who profess controversial views, many of which arguably do not coincide with the viewpoints and values of the Rensselaer community. However, on the collegiate level, and specifically in the group looking to form on campus, Turning Point USA is an organization determined to hold educational programming on conservative fiscal policy, a purpose that does, in fact, align with Rensselaer’s values.

Many members of our community came out in opposition to this group after learning that TPUSA was attempting to form on campus, for various reasons that I am not versed enough in to discuss here. However, I can say that the members of our community came out to ask questions of the organization that were critical and asked in a respectful manner. As one might expect, a presentation of such a contentious group led to tensions being high, but the questions themselves were asked respectfully and the members of Turning Point present handled them in an equally respectful and extremely professional manner, conduct which I laud in the face of such high tensions.

Ultimately, the Executive Board found Turning Point USA to violate our policies on discrimination at a national level, and we do not allow chapters on our campus to be affiliated with national organizations that violate our discrimination clauses. While the educational opportunities that the RPI chapter proposed to host provided a clear benefit to campus and provided a platform for intellectual discussions that would go a long way to increase the diversity of thought and opinion on our campus, the national organization of Turning Point does not align with our policies and therefore the local chapter cannot be recognized.

While this is a difficult decision, I would like to recognize all of the hard work that the members of Turning Point put in to starting the organization on campus and invite them to form a new organization on campus, without affiliation to a national organization that violates our policies. Additionally, the Executive Board has decided to launch a committee to investigate all of our clubs with national affiliations to ensure that each and every one of them is being held to the same standards that were exercised on Thursday night.

If anyone has any questions regarding the decision of the Executive Board or about the Union as a whole, please feel free to reach out to me at pu@rpi.edu.