Decision overruled: conservative student group will be recognized at Wichita State
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021: With a unanimous vote, Wichita State University’s Student Government Supreme Court cleared the way for a conservative student group to be recognized, overturning a prior decision by the Student Senate.
“With this action, Turning Point USA Chapter at Wichita State University will formally be recognized with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities required and guaranteed under Statutes and the Student Bill of Rights,” the university’s SGA said in a statement.
The student group posted on social media, “Turning Point USA at Wichita State University is proud to announce our status as an RSO. The action taken by the Student Supreme Court to uphold our appeal is a step in the right direction. This ensures diversity of thought is not only tolerated but accepted on college campuses.”
A conservative student group was denied Recognized Student Organization status during last night’s meeting.
“Everybody was pretty disheartened. They were very upset about it because we all thought that we could get that RSO status, and that it would happen last night, especially after F.I.R.E. did send that letter to our SGA. We were very hopeful. But, now, we’re moving forward with an appeals process to our Student Supreme Court. And, we are very hopeful that they will uphold that appeal,” said Olivia Gallegos, president of Turning Point USA at WSU, a student group with 165 members.
“(We’re) nonpartisan. We love people who have different political beliefs. Like, I disagree with a lot of members of Turning Point, and they disagree with me. But, we love talking with each other about these political ideologies because we just love having civil conversations with people,” said Nicholas Harmon, WSU student and Turning Point USA at WSU member.
Wichita State University President Rick Muma issued the following statement:
I was informed that last night, the members of Wichita State Student Senate voted to deny the organization, Turning Point USA, recognition as a student organization. If this was a decision based on the organization’s political and/or social views and statements, it is contrary to the SGA’s rules and regulations.
As president of Wichita State University, I have consistently supported freedom of expression initiatives, and will continue in my steadfast commitment to ensuring freedom of expression for all.
A decision based on political and/or social views clearly does not align with the university’s obligations and commitment to preserve and support freedom of speech and expression.
The SGA’s rules and regulations reflect a process that only allows content-neutral reasons to deny an organization recognition. The university trusts that the SGA will, through its appeal process, remedy any deviation from those rules. Should this not occur, the university will continue to ensure this organization, and all eligible student organizations, receive the full benefits and resources made available to them by the university.
We firmly believe that the free expression of diverse ideas helps our campus community have a broader understanding of these ideas and contributes to our students becoming the well-rounded, thoughtful leaders of tomorrow.
We do not support conduct, including statements and communication, that violates our policies or the law. We also do not support any improper censorship of ideas and opinions, even if they may be disagreeable to some.
While it is inevitable that the views and ideas of our community will conflict, it is in that conflict – that free exchange of ideas – where we stand to learn the most from one another.
Copyright 2021 KWCH. All rights reserved.