ITHACA, N.Y. — Turning Point USA, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing conservative student activist organization, has been forced to cancel a previously scheduled event at Cornell University. The free speech themed event featuring TPUSA Founder and Executive Director Charlie Kirk, and Director of Communications Candace Owens, was originally intended to be one of 11 stops on the Campus Clash fall speaking tour.
Cornell school administrators initially indicated they had “every intention of approving the event,” but ultimately reversed their decision after Cornell University’s TPUSA chapter president, Marshal Hoffman, was unable to attend a planning meeting with school officials. According to Hoffman, his absence was due to a scheduling conflict involving mandatory coursework, and his requests to reschedule the meeting were not responded to.
Because the university claimed it would be accommodating to future efforts to reschedule an event featuring Kirk and Owens, Turning Point USA senior staff decided to pursue alternate venues rather than protest the decision publicly. Several of the venues initially indicated to TPUSA staff that their rental requests would be approved, going so far as to discuss credit card authorizations, AV requirements and more. A total of six local event venues large enough to accommodate at least 300 attendees were unsuccessfully approached before the decision to cancel the event was finally made.
“After multiple venues turn you away for random reasons you begin to grow a little suspicious,” says TPUSA Chief Operations Officer Tyler Bowyer. “Credible sources who work inside some of these companies, and who we’ve agreed to keep anonymous for the sake of their jobs, came forward and provided us with internal communications documenting conversations that prove this event is not able to happen in Ithaca, New York because of widespread political bias.”
The communications obtained by TPUSA event staff document venue personnel wrongly speculating that Cornell University canceled the Campus Clash event because it featured suspected “white-supremacists” Kirk, along with Owens, who is African-American. Correspondence, which involves multiple venues and individuals, also documents left-wing “activists” discussing how local groups could pressure venues to cancel the event, or even use other means if necessary.
“It’s appalling that these deceitful and dishonest tactics are employed by the left,” continues Bowyer. “We’ve consistently fought all forms of extremism on the left and the right to promote the positive message of freedom. We’re also doing more work with youth leaders in minority communities than just about any other group out there right now. We love and work with American youth regardless of race, creed, faith and culture and look to new opportunities to discuss the very principles that make this country so special. I can’t say as much for those in elitist Ivy League neighborhoods who fear freedom of thought and expression. It shows how badly this community needs to hear intelligent voices in the conservative movement. These are empowering, positive messages about freedom of speech, thought and belief, and now thousands of students in person and online are being inhibited from discussing basic political and ideological topics. This isn’t the kind of behavior the founders in New York had intended for America,” concludes Bowyer.
This most recent example of campus intolerance toward conservative speakers Kirk and Owens comes only weeks after DePaul University’s controversial decision to block the event from taking place on its Chicago area campus, a story that ended up making national headlines.