Turning Point moves forward in club process
Tamonda Griffiths—News Writer
At the final Student Government Association meeting of the fall 2018 semester, with a vote of eight in favor and nine abstentions, Turning Point was officially inducted as a club on campus.
“Our main purpose in coming here on campus is to unite everybody despite their political views,” said Jenna Dower, president of Turning Point, at the meeting.
Daphney Alston, assistant director of the office of student involvement and leadership development said the organization had successfully completed the steps necessary for them to become a club, and recommended Turning Point to be approved to be an official club.
“The student involvement would like to recommend the approval of the organization,” said Alston, “with the caveat that we have to review their chapter handbook…we want to be able to make sure that we do review all the documents and it aligns with any university policies.”
Alexis Zhitomi, president of SGA, opened the floor for questions from “nonelected members” and the public.
Dower said Turning Point’s first action as a club would be a formal meeting that would involve watching some form of political documentary that shows the views of both democrats and republicans.
Dower said she feels people today are too aggressive when expressing their points of view, and would like to provide a safe space where people can come together to form “unbelievable friendships despite where you come from, what you believe, or what you don’t believe in.”
Dower cited statistics from the results of the Campus Climate survey– which was presented to SGA as the first order of business for the meeting– that said some students do not feel comfortable sharing their political views with their peers or professors.
The Campus Climate survey cited that 11.5 percent of students said they had witnessed an incident of bias/ discrimination in terms of political ideology.
“I agree…I’ve been dealing with a lot of biases because of my political view on campus and I am a senior,” said Dower. “I feel like it’s not fair, not only for me but for everybody else that’s on campus that might be scared to come out and face it.”
Sarah O’Connor, president of the College Republicans, said, during the meeting, she wanted to make clear the differences between the two political organizations.
College Republicans stems from the National College Republicans in Washington, D.C which is a “profitable organization,” said O’Connor.
“We’re a profitable organization, we’re allowed to endorse [political candidates], allow internships, work for campaigns, allow jobs to our students here at Southern,” said O’Connor, “Turning Point is a nonprofit, they’re not allowed to do any of the things we are allowed to do.”
O’Connor also said Turning Point has not acknowledged the actions of their organization at a national level.
“They’re not a social justice organization,” said O’Connor.
In a tweet from June 11, 2018, Candace Owens Turning Point USA spokeswoman and communication director, stated, “The entire premise of #MeToo is that women are stupid, weak & inconsequential.”
According to an article in the Washington Examiner, a weekly magazine located in Washington, D.C., at various Turning Point, USA conferences and events incidents of underage drinking and allegations of sexual assault and harassment were reported and the organization was “ill-equipped” to handle those situations.
“I’m here to prove to you that I want to make a change,” said Dower. “I don’t want to follow some of the ways that Turning Point USA, some of their branches may have performed at their schools or how they perform at the internet.”
In starting the organization, Dower said she knew of the controversies surrounding her organization, but wanted to promote “peace and unity” with her chapter of the organization.
“Focus on what I want to do,” said Dower, at the meeting, “because it’s completely different…but just let me have a chance.”