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Tutterrow: The infamy of Turning Point USA at Clemson University

David Ferrara // Editor-in-Chief
Crowd at TPUSA’s back the blue event from 2021

Clemson University’s chapter of Turning Point USA has recently been under fire for their affirmative action bake sale held on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. This, however, is not the organization’s first questionable act and will likely not be its last.

Turning Point USA is a relatively new organization, not only at Clemson University but as a whole, as it was only founded in 2012. 

On Clemson’s campus, the organization announced its arrival in July 2020. In introducing the organization to campus, the group branded itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom.”

Despite its relatively new arrival on campus, it has been quick to spark controversy. 

This “nonpartisan” organization has exclusively marketed hosting conservative republicans, including Nikki Haley, Kayleigh McEnany, Graham Allen and Charlie Kirk. The organization’s Instagram, which seems to be its most prominent medium, houses primarily conservative political commentary in addition to its general self-promotion. 

Turning Point USA at Clemson University’s most recent political stunt, their affirmative action “bake sale,” turned many students’ heads, and rightfully so. 

The organization chose the first day of Black History Month to take a stance against a program meant to assist minorities in achieving educational equity in America. In their official statement, they claim that affirmative action is morally wrong in the admissions process due to its “discriminatory” nature, which is why they chose to take a stand against it. However, there are many more hindrances in the admissions process that they are silent on, such as legacy admissions, making this stance feel racially directed, especially on a predominately white campus. 

Unsurprisingly, this stunt is not the first of questionable stances taken by the group. 

In April 2021, Turning Point USA at Clemson University held a “Back the Blue” event, hosting speakers Graham Allen, Tomi Lahren and Brandon Tatum. 

This event stirred controversy not only due to the subject matter but also due to the speakers chosen to be featured at the event. Lahren has been accused in the past of making racist, homophobic and sexist comments, sparking protests from students following the announcement of her involvement.

Issues also arose surrounding the participation of speaker Brandon Tatum, prompting a public statement in opposition to the Clemson University Undergraduate Government and the Council of Diversity Affairs in defense of their controversial actions. 

On Nov. 1, 2021, Turning Point USA at Clemson University hosted founder and president Charlie Kirk on his Exposing Critical Race Theory Tour. 

Among discussing many other topics, Kirk voiced his disapproval of the integration of Critical Race theory in education. This action raises many questions of hypocrisy in light of the recent statement made by Turning Point USA at Clemson.

Not only does this oppose preserving the freedom of speech that this organization so adamantly stands for, but critical race theory is proposed in order to recognize and counteract discrimination in America, something they claim to care about in their most recent statement

Supposedly, their bake sale was intended to point out systems in America that they deem racist and discriminatory, such as affirmative action in the college admissions process. Yet still, their acts in the present and of the past seem to support the opposite. 

An organization that brands itself as “freedom fighters” should take a step back and evaluate how many statements they have had to make to defend its actions and think, “who is the issue here?”


Kylie Tutterrow is a freshman undecided major from Spartanburg, South Carolina. She can be reached at [email protected]

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Kylie Tutterrow
Kylie Tutterrow, Opinion Editor
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