On April 11, the Texas State University Student Government President Alison Castillo vetoed legislation meant to ban conservative student organization Turning Point USA from campus, ending the battle of free speech at Texas State.
The bill was called “The Faculty and Student Resolution Act of 2019,” and it was passed during the student senate’s April 8 regular meeting after a heated public comments section.
The Texas State Student Government voted to bar Turning Point USA because “the safety of marginalized communities and the integrity of on-campus student elections.”
The resolution was authored by student officials Sen. Claudia Gasponi and Sen. Trevor Newman. It was sponsored by Sen. Alexa Browning and Sen. Ex-Officio Jules Perrodin.
After the Senate’s initial April 1 reading of the legislation, the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs sent a campus-wide email affirming student organizations’ First Amendment rights and backing TPUSA’s right to stay on campus.
Further, Dean of Students Margarita Arellano stated April 8 that the university will always uphold student’s First Amendment rights:
“In accordance with the First Amendment and university policy, recognized student organizations will not be barred from Texas State University campuses unless they are under university-imposed disciplinary sanctions.”
Texas State caught the attention of another college. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sent a letter of support on April 11, commending Texas State’s Senate for passing the resolution. The legislation was later shut down, however, rendering this letter of support useless.
The president of Texas State’s TPUSA chapter, Stormi Rodriguez, commented on the situation, saying:
“Thank you to the authors of the legislation, you have publicized the message of this organization more than I ever could.”
After the legislation was passed, it went to President Castillo’s desk for approval, at which point she vetoed it.
“My decision is neither partisan nor ideological; rather, it is one that upholds the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Castillo said in the veto. “The call for the immediate removal and barring of TPUSA from Texas State will set an invalid precedence that when opposing opinions arise that the solution is to bar one from organizing, thus fundamentally violating the First Amendment.”