RIGHT NOW at NRN w/Drake University College Republicans: TPUSA Denied the Right to Assemble on Campus
I have very fond memories of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. When I was a “wet behind the ears mediator” at Penn State University, we spent several years ranked in the top five in the country and competing at nationals at Drake University. The Dinner, Scooping the Loop, and the Law School Mock Trial Room are all very fond memories of the school. Drake has always been a stalwart of egalitarianism and free speech on college campuses. This is why it was such a shock to me when I saw that the Senate at Drake University had denied accreditation to Turning Point USA and denying a voice to the College Republicans on campus.
I had an opportunity to interview John Altendorf, one of the co-presidents of the thriving College Republicans club at Drake University. He was a respectful, thoughtful young man who cares about his country deeply and was shocked that the university was denying the club the right to assemble. “We saw this happen before with Turning Point USA, but we did not think that they would deny the voice of conservative students and their ability to be held on campus once again,” he noted while he was telling me about the procedural events that brought this travesty to fruition. This action is not only an assault on the free speech of the students, but also on their freedom to assemble.
Biased Student Senate Vote Squelches Free Speech
According to several sources, the student senate of Drake University convened to vote on whether to allow Turning Point USA to form on campus. This is a common vote at almost every American university. What was odd about this vote at the university was that the senate executive committee voted to hold an executive vote on the issue, which means that they were empowering themselves to have a closed-door vote denying the constituency the ability to see how each member of the committee voted. By way of parliamentary procedure, this should only be used when there is a danger of releasing information that should not get out into the public, not a tool at the whim of the committee so that they can avoid the repercussions of their actions.
When the vote was called, Turning Point USA and their supporters from the College Republicans left the room respectfully. However, another group, the Campus Comrades (an extreme left socialist/communist/anarchist group) refused to leave the chamber, forcing the board to meet in another room. The odd factor is that the Campus Comrades, the group that was blatantly violating campus and senate procedure, had been given their charter just two weeks prior. What message is the university sending to the students and the community allowing an extremist group to flaunt the law while denying a mainstream political group their political freedoms?
Conservative Students Shut Down Across the Nation
If you have been following our coverage on the University of Washington situation, we are seeing schools around the country clamp down on conservative speech to alienate students who would like to think for themselves. These are not extremists, these are not neo-conservatives, these are not hate groups – these are civic minded students who just want their voice to be heard. When they are being denied their right to assemble, they are being discriminated against based on the fact that they want to participate in the political process. Where is the Southern Poverty Law Center? Where is the Anti-Defamation League? Where are any of the groups that look into voter suppression around the country?
Speak Up on Behalf of Drake University’s Conservative Students
Please, if you care about free speech and freedom to assemble of the next generation of conservative leaders in this country, please call the Student Life Center at Drake University and let them know that these students deserve a voice. The phone number is 515-271-3711. And always, stay classy when you call.
For donations and support of Drake’s College Republicans, please email the group. These students are very active and they are the future of political discourse in the country.