In an article published on March 1 concerning TPUSA, The Echo reported that the club provided inaccurate information concerning the meeting place. TPUSA later clarified that this change in location was due to a growth in attendance. — Editor
Students had different experiences at Turning Point USA (TPUSA) meetings over the past few weeks. This led to the forming of a new campus club, Lefties at TU.
TPUSA, a conservative non profit club, convenes every other Thursday evening. The club is open for attendance by anyone, but students may leave these meetings with diverging experiences.
During the meeting times, several cultural and political topics have been covered. According to several students that regularly attend, differences between capitalism and socialism structure the conversations.
“It is exciting walking into the room because the conversation is always lively and you get to hear so many different perspectives,” freshman Elisabeth Nieshalla said.
However, not all students carry the same excitement.
According to sophomore Ellie Campbell, “the conversation is largely focused on America being the best country in the world.” To her, this results in an atmosphere characterized by chaos.
“Part of this (chaos) stemmed from the fact that about half of the students in attendance were not wearing masks and were not being respectful of those who were,” Campbell said. “The meeting was also chaotic in the sense that most of the dialogue between the liberal and conservative students was not productive in any way.”
Junior Matt Sakeuh agreed that in the most recent meeting, tensions between students resulted in a chaotic atmosphere.
“I feel like this last meeting we had was good but that some people came with a little bit too much chip on their shoulder, and came to get angry and mad,” Sakeuh said. “It really just depends on the people that are there.”
Nieshalla felt order was at the forefront, though. She cited the hand-raising system that is in place to keep any individual from being talked over.
Both Sakeuh and Nieshalla feel their voices are heard at TPUSA because of this system.
Campbell does not feel heard.
“As a liberal student, I do not feel that my voice is heard at these meetings… perhaps my voice would be better heard with better mediation from the Turning Point leadership, or in a healthier, more inclusive forum altogether,” Campbell said.
A different forum, across the aisle, is being forged. The new club is called Lefties at Taylor University (TU).
“Lefties at TU exists to make progressive folks and even centrist folks feel welcome in their political views too,” freshman Talique Taylor, the founder of this group said. “Taylor is very conservative-dominated, which ends up creating a right-wing group on campus. But liberals, progressives, and even socialists exist on campus and they are entitled to a forum for political expression just like the TPUSA folks.”
According to their first post on Instagram, the club is committed to solidarity, equality, justice and peace.
The club has not met yet, but plans to meet weekly or biweekly.