Turning Point USA fails to host event at SF State
TPUSA relocated their event three times and hosted their event off campus, leaving the Quad empty.
April 20, 2023
Campus leadership anticipated a chaotic clash at a Turning Point USA event titled “How Wokeness Is Destroying America,” but campus foot traffic was just like any other Wednesday night.
TPUSA SF State chapter members tabled at the Quad on Wednesday, accompanied by members of the chapter at San Jose State and the Bay Area field representative before their event featuring Jon Root as a speaker. Root was also speaking with students throughout the afternoon.
“The student org and speaker tabled in the afternoon and chose to hold their evening event at a nearby off-campus location. Both the tabling and the talk were reportedly uneventful,” SF State President Lynn Mahoney said via email.
During the day, a teach-in for Trans Rights and Resistance was organized by LGBTQ+ faculty and the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies, along with a scheduled performance at McKenna Theater.
“We are grateful to students who protested peacefully and encouraged others to do so as well,” Mahoney said. “ I also want to extend my gratitude to staff, faculty, and administrators who worked hard to both support students and ensure that the event was not disrupted, with special thanks to the Time Place and Manner committee, faculty and staff volunteers, campus, safety, and those who hosted teach-ins and other alternative events.”
During the evening, faculty members of the TPM committee, UPD and Chris Trudell, assistant dean of students, were on the Quad waiting in case any situation developed. Foot traffic on the quad was very minimal. Before changing locations to Merced Manor Reservoir in Sunset, TPUSA planned to host their event in the Quad, according to Root’s Twitter. Notice signs placed all over campus warned students that a large group on campus was going to assemble.
“I think it’s the fact that the school just doesn’t like diversity of thought, in my opinion,” said Jennifer So, secretary for the TPUSA San Jose chapter. “I think that it’s best if a school is really about diversity, it would be more than just cultural diversity. I feel like it’s good to get different viewpoints on different ideas.”
During the event, Root spoke to an estimated 70 people about his afternoon at SF State while tabling with TPUSA.
“I had some conversation with people on campus and I do thank everybody for the warm welcome,” Root said during the event. “Chalking up the street like children, Is it fun to you that you have Black Lives Matter and Trans rights are human rights? Those things go together? The biggest fraud and destructive group we’ve probably seen in your lifetime goes along with the Trans community. Don’t get it twisted. They are distracted emotionally, physically, and spiritually.”
At the event, a group of protestors gathered and blasted music out of a JBL speaker as Root spoke. All attendees and protestors were a mix of SF State students and outsiders.
“I’m very left-leaning, but I was only talking to left-leaning people. So I just want to see what the Republicans in the area are saying, which I don’t agree with,” said Jordan Tirona, SF State student majoring in political science. “A very flaccid performance by the Republicans. I was expecting a little bit more. Maybe just because the venue changed three times. I was hoping there’d be more than like 50 Republicans on [SF State] campus, but it doesn’t seem like it.”
Tirona had an opportunity to speak to Root after his speech. Along with Summer Billings, a second-year sociology major at SF State.
“My conversation did not go places unfortunately,” Billings said. “He was pretty firm in his foundation with his beliefs. Which to each their own, as I am myself. Unfortunately, he wasn’t listening necessarily to what I was saying and only used it as rebuttals for his own conversations. What he was doing today wasn’t so much of opening up a discussion for trans rights as much as it was removing people from their opportunities.”
The event finished around 8:30 p.m. and campus police continued to patrol the Quad until then.