Professor fights to silence conservative student group


Philosophy professor Wendy Lynne Lee, who teaches at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, has been staging an all-out effort to have the school revoke a conservative group’s status as a student organization, stating that it leans in a “homophobic, sexist, racist, and anti-Muslim ideological direction.”

According to Lee, Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a nonprofit organization that promotes limited government, advances bigotry with its views.

TPUSA says its mission is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government,” but Lee believes the group should not be allowed on Bloomsburg’s campus.

“Were it the case that TPUSA and its BU [Bloomsburg] Chapter were just what the TPUSA describes—a conservative/libertarian/Pro-Capitalism group—that would be just fine,” Lee wrote in an email chain obtained by The Washington Free Beacon. “But TPUSA has a number of other serious issues.”

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative foundation Lee claims is bigoted, is one of TPUSA’s partners, and she doesn’t like them, either. According to its mission statement, the center is “dedicated to the defense of free societies whose moral, cultural, and economic foundations are under attack by enemies both secular and religious, at home and abroad.”

Lee also referenced another TPUSA partner, the Heartland Institute, a self-described “free-market think tank,” saying that they’re “devoted to fueling the machinery of climate change denial.”

In a series of emails, Lee stated that TPUSA promotes a “white supremacist and misogynist worldview” and “far-right authoritarianism with … a patently racist, sexist, and homophobic agenda.”

According to Bloomsburg’s Department of Philosophy webpage, Lee’s areas of specialization include environmental philosophy, feminist theory, and philosophy of mind.

Lee believes that TPUSA should not be permitted to have an official presence on Bloomsburg’s campus, arguing that the organization’s views are “plainly way out of the rational mainstream” or “conservative/libertarian politics.”

“This is not about freedom of speech—unless, of course, the university is looking to align itself with white supremacist organizations who’d silence its minority voices,” Lee wrote, comparing the group with the Ku Klux Klan. “This is not a libertarian organization; it is a white supremacist one.”

A spokesman for TPUSA told the Free Beacon that Lee’s efforts to label the group as white supremacist are “ridiculous.”

“To suggest that Turning Point USA and our diverse group of student activists is in any way supportive of white supremacy is ridiculous and more directly speaks to the derangement of the radical left on many college campuses,” said Jake Hoffman, communications and media director for TPUSA national.

“A professor is exploiting an administrative process in an attempt to silence ideas and opinions she disagrees with,” he added. “The long-term negative consequences of this type of ideological censorship should be deeply concerning to everyone.”

Following Lee’s email exchanges with school officials, an unidentified faculty member began protesting Turning Point’s presence on campus, local ABC affiliate WNEP reported on Oct. 29. Signs appeared in a window of one of the academic buildings that read, “BU Turning Point = Alt-Right = White Supremacist.”

The TPUSA chapter at Bloomsburg has not yet contacted any national members of the group because nothing substantive has been decided. But Hoffman says the chapter does have access to the organization’s national, regional, statewide, and local field staff in case they need assistance.

“False claims and baseless attacks are a sadly common tactic employed by leftist professors, and we deal with each issue on a case-by-case basis,” Hoffman said.

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