Free Speech In College: University's Rejection Of Conservative Club Ignites DebateBy Emily Marks
Santa Clara University's student government has rejected the proposal of a conservative club to be a registered organization of the institution. This sparked an intense debate about diversity and intellectual freedom.
SF Gate reported that the student government at the university voted not to legitimize a chapter of Turning Point USA on campus. The group describes itself as nonpartisan and is said to exist in order to promote the "importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government."
Apparently, the SCU senators were worried about the group's claim that the club will be focused on fiscal issues would not hold. This is because Turning Point has always been vocal about social issues.
With the tense nature of the current political situation, some members of the student government also said that legitimizing the conservative group would make students at Santa Clara University "uncomfortable" because its parent group's economic and social aspects cannot be differentiated. This sparked an intense debate on freedom of speech.
In Santa Clara University's official website, 10 members of the student government voted in favor of legitimizing the conservative group while 16 voted against. The decision was announced after input from a various range of constituent voices was collected.
Neil Datar, chairperson of the Santa Clara student senate, said that senators for and against the approval of Turning Point were given the chance to voice their opinions during deliberation. He described the final decision as a result of a "rigorous, fair and democratic voting process."
According to USA Today College, Ahmer Israr was one of the 10 senators who voted in favor of TPUSA. He expressed his disappointment in an email to the publication, saying that it was a "shame" that his peers "saw it fit to trample upon the rights of an intellectual minority group on campus by engaging in a tyranny of the majority."
David Warne, a first-year senator, also said in an email that he and Israr emphasized on the importance of intellectual freedom and diversity. He added that "intellectual safety has become just as important as physical safety."