As a part of our new initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, an anonymous user asked The Daily Nebraskan, “What activities has Turning Point USA been doing on the UNL campus, and how many faculty are on their watch list and for what reasons?”
Last year, TPUSA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln made the news multiple times for complications with free speech zones and faculty reactions to the organization. The events put its plan to become an official chapter on hold. But as of this semester, TPUSA is a registered student organization.
The long disagreement between faculty and TPUSA made it difficult for the club to find a faculty member to sponsor them, a key requirement to becoming an RSO.
Benjamin Terry, an associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering, became that faculty adviser this semester. He said he believes students who want to launch a chapter should have the opportunity to do so.
TPUSA is also planning to extend the organization to the University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney campuses, and this year, hopes to expand UNL’s free speech guidelines, according to their president Grant Carstens.
TPUSA’s Professor Watchlist, an online platform that exposes and documents college faculty who “target conservative students and push leftist propaganda in the classroom,” currently features one University of Nebraska system professor: Patricia Hill.
Hill is a research assistant and professor of sociology at UNL who was arrested in January for vandalizing the home of Chris Cox, a National Rifle Association lobbyist in Alexandria, Virginia.
Outside of the University of Nebraska system, Creighton University’s Fidel Fajardo-Acosta, who teaches in the English department, is also on the watchlist.
The organization placed him on the list in 2016 after he made a joke about Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election in class.
The “About Us” section on the watchlist page says TPUSA will “continue to fight for free speech and the right for professors to say whatever they wish, however, students deserve to know which faculty advance radical agendas in lectures.”
Are you curious about something on campus? Help us answer your question by submitting a question at Curious Cornhuskers.