SAN MARCOS, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Texas State lecturer Kelly Stone and three members of the University’s Student Government spoke with the press in San Marcos Monday morning. Stone says beginning last fall, a student harrased her and others in some of her classes. She describes it as tactics to undermine her teaching
“Asking me overtly in front of my students if I was a Christian. Making transphobic remarks, making disparaging remarks against victims of sexual assault,” Stone said.
Stone says some of her students were concerned for their safety. “We all filed Title 9 complaints with the University and all of our complaints were summarily dismissed without investigation,” Stone said.
Stone says her course, Sexuality Across the Lifespan, has been removed from the Spring 2019 semester schedule by the University and her contract is not being renewed.
The tactics Stone was referring to, she says are straight from Turning Point USA — it’s a national conservative group with a student chapter at Texas State.
On Monday night, Texas State Student Government will hear a resolution calling for the immediate removal and barring of Turning Point USA from the University.
Student Senator Claudia Gasponi co-wrote the resolution.
“I’m trying to get the harassment from this national organization to stop,” she said.
The University itself issued a statement ahead of Monday night’s discussion — saying in part:
“Student government, on its own, does not have the authority to bar a recongnized student organization at Texas State.”
Governor Greg Abbott and Land Commissioner George P. Bush also tweeted about the issue, supporting free speech. “It’s being framed as a free speech argument. But harassment is not free speech, using tactics to censor professors and other students on the University campus is not free speech,” Stone said.
The Texas Senate just passed a bill mandating free speech on college campuses (including conservative speech). I look forward to signing it into law. But it’s crazy we have to pass a law to uphold the First Amendment. https://t.co/siPtnBbeF7— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 3, 2019
Texas State senior Stormi Rodriguez is President of the Turning Point USA chapter at Texas State. She says until this issue came up, she hadn’t heard of Kelly Stone and says her members don’t advocate against professors or curriculum.
“What you’ll find on most college campuses is conservatives are the quiet ones in the classroom. They’re not very big on like fighting back in any kind of way and if those are Turning Point USA members who are harassing students, they’re not welcome in my chapter, that’s not what we’re about, that’s not what we promote,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says claims that Turning Point USA has ties to white supremacist groups are unfounded.
“White supremacy has no place in any conservative movement and it definitely has no place at Turning Point USA. My chapter is led by minority women and believe me we are not white supremacists nor do we welcome that,” Rodriguez said.
As for the Student Government vote on Monday...
“I mean college is a place where you come to be challenged, where you come to hear diverse ideas and how can that happen if Student Government decides to just ban every organization that they think is a little too controversial for them?” Rodriguez said.
Tonight’s vote is at 7pm. Gasponi says if it does pass and the University still doesn’t take action against the group, they’ll make sure the students are aware the University isn’t listening.