At Bethany College, a group of students wanted to form a chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) to engage in conversations about freedom, free markets, and limited government. In direct violation of their own free speech policies and the Constitution, the College denied their application and declared the pro-America views of TPUSA as hate speech. To protect the students’ constitutional rights, SLF sent the College a letter demanding that it approve the students’ application.
In the letter, SLF explained that the College has broken its own promise to protect its students’ rights by upholding “free and unfettered discussion of the widest possible nature, one which encourages expression of all points of view.”
TPUSA “overwhelmingly” denounces hate speech. But even if the organization did not denounce hate speech, Bethany College has committed itself, through its written policies, to protect the free exchange of all points of view—even the most offensive. Students can never learn from one another if their speech is censored, monitored, and dictated for them based on paternalistic notions of their mental well-being.
SLF also noted that the allegedly “harassing” TPUSA Professor Watchlist cannot reasonably be considered harassment. Harassment can only be something so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it would make a professor completely unable to teach. The Professor Watchlist is sourced carefully, and it only includes professors who have been featured in credible, published news stories. And, not a single Bethany College professor is on the Watchlist.