BUTTE — Some faculty and staff at Montana Tech in Butte are making claims that the recent approval of a conservative student group called Turning Point USA could lead to intimidation and threats against professors and others on campus.
“This group is known for affiliating with racist and neo-Nazi and other alt-right groups,” said Montana Tech Professor Pat Munday.
Turning Point USA’s website says it promotes principles of limited government, capitalism, and freedom on campus.
Turning Point USA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk. The organization’s mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government. Turning Point USA believes that every young person can be enlightened to true free market values.
Some Montana Tech staff says it intimidates liberal professors by putting them on a national watch list.
“Professors who have been put on that list have been subject to harassment and even to death threats,” said English Professor Henry Gonshak.
The faculty members claim they are not against students or clubs that have political views.
“We don’t want suppress free speech, we don’t want to in any way try to tell students what clubs they can or can’t have, but we do want to promote awareness that this is a very dangerous road to go down when we start putting politics above truth,” said Munday.
And some faculty are concerned about the state’s proposal to allow firearms on campus, which, they believe, could compound the problem.
“Saying that people can bring guns to college campuses, I think that is extremely dangerous and I think people are going to die, I really feel people are going to die because of this,” said Gonshak.
Those that support the legislation believe that having guns on campus will better protect people if violence should break out.
MTN News left messages with Turning Point USA asking for comment, but we have not yet received a response.