Image Credit: Turning Point UK
Right wing student organisation Turning Point UK has been rejected in its request to become a society for the third time this year. YUSU societies committee have argued that Turning Point UK York “do not adhere to our inclusivity clause” and that the branch’s current twitter feed fails to meet their current Code of Conduct.
This came after Turning Point UK launched for the first time in February as an offshoot to the pro Trump, student led organisation Turning Point USA. The organisation aims to voice a new generation of young Conservatives on campuses across the UK.
In a Tweet, they describe how “the left believes they have a monopoly over young people” and that it was “time us young people fought back” against the socialist biases inherent in universities. So far, the movement has been backed by a number of Conservative politicians, including Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg and ex-leader of UKIP Nigel Farage.
However according to YUSU, ratifying Turning Point UK as a society has the potential to incur “reputational damage” because of their association with a strongly right-wing organisation. Its association with strong right wing beliefs breaches YUSU’S Code of Conduct, which states that members “should not undertake any action which could bring the reputation of the Club, YUSU or the university into disrepute”.
Despite this, YUSU argues that the organisation is not being no-platformed. In fact, they say that there is nothing inherently wrong with what the group is doing and that they are more than happy to “encourage and facilitate” discussing right wing politics and capitalism.
YUSU believes that “all students should have a place to express their political views”, but the problem lies with the association and reputation of the organisation. This was a similar argument made in the decision not to ratify Stand Up to Racism Society due to its alleged association with the Socialist Worker’s Party, which could therefore damage the reputation of the university and YUSU.
The committee for new societies voted on the organisation’s ratification: 4 no and 2 yes. They concluded that for the committee to comfortably say yes, something specific has to change in its application. YUSU acknowledges that there is clearly a demand for this type of group, but a different angle is necessary for it to pass through.
When Nouse asked Activities Officer Ollie Martin for his say on the matter, he told us that “the affiliation of TPUK as a wing of TPUS caused concern around potential reputational damage to the union and the university. I’ve since met with the group of students that made the application to discuss how a future application can be made successful”.
YUSU also ratified 13 other new societies, such as Rubber Duck Society, despite the concerns raised about the environmental impact the society could have on our campus and its future and sustainability. Alongside Turning Point UK, Pancake Society were also not recommended to be ratified by the committee. Pancake society was rejected due to the fact that they did not take into account gluten and dairy free diets.
The future of Turning Point UK at the University of York remains unclear, but what is certain, is that they must adopt a different approach if they seek ratification in the near future.