Last week, many students walked through Mac Mall to find a group of people with a jumbo beach ball asking those passing by to sign the ball with dry erase markers. They did not provide any information as to who they were or why they were doing this at first, and many students signed it, unaware of the group’s message. It finally came to surface that the few people there were representing the conservative group Turning Point USA (TPUSA).
“It was a lot of propaganda tactics, basically,” said Aristotle Karonias (‘22), a member of Alma College Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
When asked how they felt about TPUSA being on campus, another member, Grant Ostrander (‘22) said, “I really have no problem with them being on campus. I just felt that they could have been more clear about who they were and what they stood for than just you know, ‘we’re a student activist group.’”
When asked why TPUSA was invited to campus, the student who reached out to them, who the Almanian has chosen to keep anonymous, said, “Being on campus, I noticed that the political clubs are very one-sided towards the left . . . there’s nothing for people who don’t share those points of view.”
Alma College currently has no officially active conservative student groups. The student who invited them stated, “currently I’m hoping to start a chapter here at Alma, but I need the positions of vice president and secretary to be filled in order to start a chapter. That would entail helping me plan meetings and communicating with Turning Point and whatnot.”
Turning Point USA identifies themselves on their website as a “non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote freedom, free markets and limited government.” Founded by Charlie Kirk in 2012 with headquarters in Phoenix, AZ, their mission has been from the beginning to “build the most organized, active, and powerful conservative grassroots activist network on high school and college campuses across the country.”
Donald Trump Jr. made a statement saying, “I’m convinced that the work by Turning Point USA and Charlie Kirk will win back the future of America.”
A website called Professor Watchlist was created by TPUSA for right-leaning students to “report” left-leaning professors. Benjamin Peterson, visiting assistant professor of the history department, said, “in some cases [the Professor Watchlist] has resulted in people receiving death threats, so that’s something kind of questionable.”
The group largely advocates for free speech rights, but when it comes to liberal views, they do their best to silence any and all opinions. No professors from Alma College are listed on Professor Watchlist.