Another Turning Point USA chapter is under fire this month for hosting a "Back the Blue " rally featuring Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, Graham Allen, and more. The event is being hosted by the Clemson University chapter of Turning Point USA in South Carolina. Other universities across the U.S. that have had student groups attempt to cancel Turning Point events include Binghamton, NC State, and C.U. Boulder.
The Turning Point chapter was made official at the University in July of 2020. Within less than a year, the chapter has faced backlash from the University’s student government and other university organizations. To date, approximately 3,000 signatures were gathered in a student petition to help stop this event from taking place. However, this effort was pointed more specifically toward the condemnation of Fox News host Tomi Lahren, who is set to be a key speaker at the event.
An official statement released on March 24 from Clemson university’s Council of Diversity Affairs reads, “The action committee does not condone this (Back the Blue event) happening on Clemson University’s campus. If the University is unable to move the event, we want to see the University denounce the rhetoric of the event. Tomi Lahren has been described as a “right-wing provocateur” and has made various statements that are racist, transphobic, and xenophobic. We are extremely disappointed and angry that someone who has compared Black Lives Matter to the KKK will be speaking at Clemson University. Racism, transphobia, and xenophobia cannot exist in spaces that value honesty, integrity, and respect. By allowing this event to happen on our campus, Clemson University implies that these beliefs and such rhetoric are acceptable here. We especially expect the University to condemn the event after the administration’s support of the Black Lives Matter march in June.”
“Clemson University has a history of oppression, racism, and bigotry that continues to permeate on our campus to this day. The University’s silence is deafening for the students directly affected by the rhetoric and ideals of this event.”
The ability to comment on this post has since been removed. The diversity council has made explicit stances and calls to student action, including protesting for a tuition freeze, also hosting discussions on the “The Differences Between Latin and Latinx,” “White Allyship,” and “Creating Safe Spaces.” A statement released on March 26 from the Turning Point chapter called out the University’s diversity council and provided their organization’s mission statement, which includes defending free speech and encouraging diversity of thought.
Tomi Lahren appeared on FOX news to address the issue of censorship of conservative voices on college campuses. “This is what these (College Democrat and BLM-affiliated groups) do, and they’ve done it so many times at so many campuses. What they try to do, if they can’t full-on get the University to cancel the events with their petitions and their outrage, is try to run up the security cost so that groups like Turning Point USA which I’m speaking for, and others, are unable to afford it and the University ultimately has to cancel it.”
The Turning Point chapter has since gained outstanding support, which led them to move to an even larger venue to accommodate the new attendees. Tomi said to the cancel-mob, “Don’t mess with us. Don’t play with us. We will not be canceled. We will not back down come hell, high-water, or liberal snowflakes, I will be speaking at Clemson next week.” Tomi also took the opportunity to invite her adversaries to see her speak. “I would encourage everyone to go, even if you don’t like me. You might find something in the speech that inspires you. You’re welcome to peacefully protest.”
The “Back the Blue” event featuring guest speakers Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, and Graham Allen is scheduled for Thursday, April 8 at 7 p.m; at Littlejohn Coliseum. Both VIP and general $5 tickets are currently still available and can be reserved via this link. The event is not university sponsored, it's being funded and hosted by the Clemson chapter of Turning Point USA.
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About the Author:
Bean Dashnea is currently a student of foreign language and political science. She has lived between the U.S. and Europe for nearly 14 years but considers Texas home. After Bean changed her party registration from Democrat to Republican circa 2018, she immediately recognized the public discourse shift. She knew she was caught in the war on culture and information. Bean currently works with local Republican chapters and primarily advocates for smaller government and geopolitical awareness.