Guest viewpoint: The real election problem with Turning Point USA

This piece reflects the views of the author, Evan Stuart Roth, and not those of Emerald Media Group. It has been edited by the Emerald for grammar and style. Send your columns or submissions about our content or campus issues to[email protected].

The students of the University of Oregon have an exclusive opportunity to set precedent for how student government elections will become influenced by nationwide political organizations. There have been rumblings on campus for weeks of the existence of a new conservative movement called Turning Point USA, and their influence has begun to be felt as their volunteers begin to walk around campus with tablets during the early weeks of Spring Term.

In diagnosing what is truly at the core of the ethical issue of the involvement of such organizations on college campuses in student government elections, I ask that you look past the ideology of Turning Point USA in order to find the true issue of their intruding influence in this Spring’s student election.

I will admit as a small government conservative and registered Republican, I am largely in favor of their mission of educating students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited governments. However, what is imperative to note is the process in which they attempt to accomplish their goals.

College campuses are meant to be the breeding ground for the right of freedom of speech, and while colleges across the country, including the University of Oregon, have begun to lose sight of this tremendous right, we, as a campus, must return to the sentiment of proficient, non-polarizing discussion. Again, highlighting that it is not their ideology or the idea that they are advocating that is the issue, but the fact that an organization is intruding upon what should be student conversations and elections.

As a community of students, we are given the opportunity to breed new ideas, and engage in conversations with those that dissent against our opinions, while still maintaining the willingness for compromise and progress, which is a sentiment largely missing from our national debate and political leaders. We do not need outside political organizations attempting to polarize our campus so that our debate reflects the debate of the rest of country, and we should not waste this opportunity to path new foundation for progress for our future selves.

The ideas should come from students and be executed by students only. We know our campus best and what we need to progress it better than anyone else, and it is a mistake to begin to become influenced by intruding national political forces. We might be a divided country, but we do not need to be a divided campus.

The University of Oregon has had an extensive history of being at the forefront of progress and innovation, and we must not let our right of conversation and progress to be intruded upon by non-Ducks. We cannot shy away from those that do not agree, but rather embrace those differences to pioneer new ways for students to cooperatively advance the University of Oregon.

The issue with these outside organizations is not their ideology but rather the issue is that we must protect our right for students to engage in conversations and to advance their own interests, not the interests of alien organizations. Students should vote for the interests of University of Oregon students only.

Please remember to vote on Duck Web, and as always, Go Ducks.

Evan Stuart Roth

Senate Seat 8: ACFC