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On Thursday, a chapter of Turning Point USA was approved at Wartburg College in Waverly. Emily Russell, a Wartburg student who worked to gain approval for the group, said she had no words to describe what she was feeling after two years of battling.

Turning Point USA was approved on a 33-14 vote of the student senate. There are around 15-20 members in the group so far.

Russell, the chapter president and campus coordinator, said she tried to start Turning Point USA two years ago with a goal of giving conservatives more of a voice on Wartburg’s campus. The organization’s mission is to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government.

“After a long period of being questioned by student senate, we were overwhelmingly denied,” she said. “I decided to try again because 17 student senators abstained from the vote, which makes it hard to be able to say that the student body supported the decision to deny us. I wanted to get a more accurate and fairer vote, so I gave it another shot.”

This time, she said, the student senate did a great job of ensuring fairness. However, the difficulty came from the Student Life office. According to Russell, the Dean of Students and the Director of Student Engagement stalled by refusing to sign off on the documents necessary for the application to move on to the student senate.

“This vote shouldn’t have just happened, it should’ve happened weeks ago,” Russell said. “Nevertheless, I am very appreciative of the student senate’s integrity throughout this process. They definitely learned from the mistakes of two years ago.”

Challenges remain, though. Russell said the Turning Point group would continue to face loud opposition from students on the Left.

“Several students have already voiced their disapproval of senate’s decision over social media and attached labels such as ‘neo-Nazis’ and ‘extremists,'” Russell said. “We are overjoyed by the outcome of this vote, but we know that we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

On Thursday, Russell said the approval means there is hope for conservative students on college campuses.

“Students who are afraid to express their conservative views publicly because of Wartburg’s history of silencing right-leaning views may now feel more comfortable expressing themselves,” she said. “The college sent a message with this vote that they value diversity of thought and are open to the idea of students possessing viewpoints that challenge the status quo. This approval means the world to me because it means that my hard work has paid off after all and that conservative students will not be silenced anymore.”

Since Thursday, Russell has been the target of vicious attacks on social media, with some encouraging others to look up her address.

“We’ve only been an approved organization since Thursday and people started targeting both me personally and the organization as a whole that day,” she said on Sunday. “They claim that we’re affiliated with hate groups like the KKK. Unfortunately, it is spreading like crazy and I’m under security’s watch now basically.”

One student said she’s been at Wartburg for three and a half years and the addition of Turning Point USA has left her “speechless.”

Ian Coon tweeted that it’s a “very sad day to be a @WartburgCollege student, where your elected peer representatives (@WartburgSenate) just voted to approve @TPUSA chapter. A vote against all just morals, ethics and humanity. Graduation can’t come soon enough.”

He followed up saying, “I get it. I get it. I get it. I do. It’s for sure really hard to be a conservative in America in 2019. Honestly, your voices are so silenced. SILENCED. It makes total sense to require the desperate services of @TPUSA at @WartburgCollege. Thank GOD bigots have voices now too.”

Another person posted on Twitter that “it is not a safe campus to be a black legal alien.”

A post telling people they can look up where people live was directly preceded by screenshots of Russell’s tweets and captions talking about her.

The Iowa Standard is a free online news source so we can reach as many people as possible. But we need to raise money! We are asking our readers to help support us as a news alternative entering 2020. If you could, please consider showing a sign of support to The Iowa Standard by making a contribution here.  Or, you can use Venmo and make a contribution to @Iowa-Standard-2018. 

You could also send a check to:
PO Box 112
Sioux Center, IA 51250

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall