Turning Point hosts Coming Out of the Conservative Closet

Jacob WaringReporter

The Turning Point USA chapter, which is currently in the process towards becoming a recognized club, invited John Paul, President of Grand Opportunity USA to speak to students.

The organization is a non-profit whose mission revolves around opportunity, personal, economic, social, educational and national opportunities.

Paul said at his lecture Come Out of the Conservative Closet he felt it was harder to be conservative than being gay, which he identifies as.

He said essentially, people need to be out as conservatives and stand up for their right to express their beliefs.

He also said he is against racist and homophobic rhetoric from both ends of the political spectrum. According to Paul, there are individuals with bad intentions on both sides.

He said his goal is to encourage people to be open to seeing different point of views.

“Whenever I talk about coming out of the conservative closet, my point of these talks is I talk about opportunity, freedom, liberty,” said Paul. “Capitalism is good, socialism is bad. People don’t hear that on college campuses, they only hear one side most of the time.”

He also said he believes that college campuses should be open to different views, and not be an echo chamber of liberal ideologies.

Paul made a claim 80 percent of the professors on campus believe socialism is good, and capitalism is bad.

He also said of that same statistic of professors believe democrats are good and republicans are bad, homophobic, bigoted and Nazis.

He did not cite any research that state these claims.

Carly Holding, sophomore, and vice president of Turning Point said the club is looking
to make a safe place for students to talk and become knowledgeable about government.

“It’s really hard for a lot of people to talk about government in a safe spot,” said Holding. “So, we’re kind of an accepting space. We want to educate people on the benefits of smaller government, and free market.”

She said Paul was an interesting speaker and enjoyed his visit.

“I think it was very good,” said Holding. “He was very informative. As someone who grew up independent, I haven’t really been able to be exposed to people on different sides. I only ever heard from what the media has said.”

Originally, the Turning Point USA Chapter was to host John Paul in the Adanti Student Center. Due to not being a recognized club yet, they were not allowed to host an event or post flyers to promote Paul’s visit.

Turning Point decided to move the event to the quad since it is a public space that anyone can use.

“There was a misunderstanding that we were doing an interest meeting when we were not,” said Holding. “And we’re not approved to do events since this is considered an event, we weren’t allowed to do it in the room anymore.”

Daphney Alston, assistant director for the office of student involvement and leadership development, said in order to host events on campus ,it must be a fully recognized club, organization or university department. Turning Point USA, according to her, has not completed the club recognition process yet.

Originally, she said Turning Point had the room for a club meeting to gather people who are interested in the club.

By having a guest speaker, it went beyond what the room was supposed to be utilized for. Alston said it was a miscommunication.

“I think they were just confused about that process of what they could and couldn’t do,” she said. “It seemed like it was a misinterpretation of what they could use the space for.”

She saw flyers posted around campus and told the club that due to the school’s policy the event was not allowed.

Holding said the school itself does not target or oppress conservative views, but certain people may prefer such views not be expressed.

Alston said regardless of political affiliation she would follow the same guidelines. She said it is a horrible thought people may think the university is not supportive of conservative ideals.

“I think that, especially with the leadership of President Joe,” she said, “he’s successful at articulating that we’re a university that believes in an exchange of ideas, especially the First Amendment.”

Photo Credit: Jacob Waring

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