Student leaders continue to discuss Turning Point USA
March 2, 2017
Animated discussions over controversial student group Turning Point USA continued last week on campus.
Though it’s been two weeks since the Associate Student Government denied the group registered student organization status, the conservative group was an underlying thread in various discussions at the Feb. 23 Senate meeting.
One of the two proposed bylaws changes struck a chord with senators, given last month’s vote on TPUSA. Presented by Senate Chair Neil Datar, it proposed that the judicial branch function as a student court
But considering that the judicial branch upheld the Senate’s vote in the case of TPUSA, some senators viewed the bylaw change as cautionary.
“The student court may review senate prospective RSO registration decisions and is permitted to order a revote should it be determined that senate violated the constitution or bylaws in regards to the RSO registration process,” Datar said. “If the student court sees no compelling evidence that senate violated this process, the court must uphold ASG Senate’s decision. The student court is prohibited from reversing the RSO registration decisions of ASG Senate.”
After senator Ahmer Israr inquired about how this measure seems reactionary due to the recent events with Turning Point USA, Datar confirmed that the measure is only now being taken because TPUSA has been the first group in recent years to appeal an RSO status denial.
Datar went on to say that the Senate analyzes matters subjectively, and it is the judicial branch’s job to approach them objectively. If the RSO registration process was indeed deemed as violated by the judicial branch in one instance, the case would be brought back to the Senate for a re-vote.
Some senators accused the bylaws change as redundant, and Datar responded with a rationale.
“The reason why we’ve been writing this is because we want to codify how this process—which hasn’t been specifically codified—should proceed,” he said.
After further discussion on the matter, a vote on the bylaws change regarding the judicial branch was tabled until March 2.
Another bylaws change discussed during the meeting proposed changing the Senate hearing format to give equal time to both sides of the argument in the case at hand. The bylaws change passed in a vote of 21 to three.
Fr. Jack Treacy, S.J. also spoke to senators at the meeting, discussing his role in the University Relations Office and the impact students at Santa Clara have had on him. He also commended ASG senators for how they handled the TPUSA case and pointed to how Fr. Engh’s recent statement that “the world needs Santa Clara.”
“What I think he’s talking about is this community of people who are supporting one another as they develop their gifts— their talents—as they seek to help heal our world,” Treacy said.
Two additional guest speakers, former ASG President Aaron Poor and Vice President Madeline Owen, also addressed the senators. They discussed recent events in Senate meetings and their experiences at Santa Clara. Owen also spoke about the recent death of student and water polo player Julian Fraser and gave Senate members some words of advice.
“Just knowing how much he would give to be able to come back here, it is so important to support one another, listen to one another and seek goodness in one another because that is how we connect as humans,” Owen said. “Just remember that when you are having conversations about really important things.”
ASG Senate will meet again on March 3 at 7 p.m.
Contact Meghan McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.