By Matt Kyle | Staff Writer, Video by Conner Frost | Broadcast Reporter
After a three-year journey to become an officially recognized student organization, the Baylor chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) finally received its charter from the university on Aug. 22.
TPUSA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit political organization that was founded in 2012 by conservative activist Charlie Kirk. According to the organization’s website, the group’s mission is to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government.
During the chapter’s first official meeting on Monday, Killeen senior and chapter president Ollie Mintz expressed his excitement about the new opportunities that a charter grants to TPUSA.
“[The charter] means everything,” Mintz said. “It gives us more capability on campus. We’re able to use campus facilities, and we’re able to host more events. It just gives us the opportunity to do a lot more things.”
Queen Creek, Ariz., sophomore and chapter secretary Ashley Dohlman said that now that the group is chartered, it looks forward to being able to hold more events on campus and receive funding from Baylor. She said that the group now has more opportunities and resources to reach out to students and spread conservative ideas.
“We can educate them and give them the tools they need to spread ideas to other students,” Dohlman said.
Dohlman said that TPUSA promotes ideas such as protection of free speech and the Second Amendment. Both Dohlman and Mintz highlighted how the group is especially focused on promoting free market capitalism, with Mintz pointing to TPUSA’s “Socialism Sucks” advertising campaign.
Mintz and Dohlman both said they are excited for TPUSA to grow. The group’s first meeting drew around 50 students, which Mintz said was a “huge upgrade” from last year’s meetings, which only averaged around 10 students each time.
“Fifty people at our first meeting is kind of nuts,” Mintz said. “I was going with the expectation of last year — maybe 20, maybe 30 — but having 50 people show up? That’s pretty phenomenal.”
Mintz said that TPUSA is different from other conservative groups on campus due to the group’s focus on conservative ideas and values instead of candidates and parties. Due to the group’s 501(c)3 status, TPUSA cannot endorse political candidates or parties, which Mintz said allows the group to strictly focus on ideas and discourse.
“We love discourse, and we want people that disagree with us,” Mintz said. “We want people to come in and have that discussion with us. That’s the thing that sets us apart; we’re able to have those conversations because we don’t necessarily endorse anybody.”
Dohlman said that she was drawn to TPUSA instead of other groups because of the focus on core conservative ideas instead of politicians. She said students should join TPUSA because it is a “really fun group of people” offering students a space to talk about politics and have fun.
“It can be kind of hard to find that space sometimes,” Dohlman said. “People are scared to speak up. Colleges are generally more liberal places. There’s going to be judgment.”
Mintz said the creation of a TPUSA chapter at Baylor was “an unexpected idea.” Mintz said that during his freshman year, he was looking for conservative groups on campus to join. He followed Charlie Kirk and hoped there was a TPUSA chapter at Baylor, but there wasn’t, which fueled his desire to create a chapter at Baylor.
“What’s better than starting your own thing, as opposed to joining someone else’s?” Mintz said.
He quickly got a group together and began to work toward making TPUSA an officially recognized student organization.
Over the next three years, TPUSA was repeatedly denied a charter, which Mintz attributed to the university not knowing much about the group. Mintz said that after the group’s last denial in 2020, TPUSA representatives came and spoke with the Student Activities Board to inform Baylor about the group.
“Student Activities was wonderful,” Mintz said. “They were super helpful and willing to learn about the group. I think discussion really helped both parties come to an agreement.”
Students who are interested in joining TPUSA can reach out to the group’s social media pages: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Mintz said he has a “sales pitch” that he gives to anybody interested in joining.
“Do you love America, do you like free speech, do you like free markets and do you hate socialism?” Mintz said. “If you want to have fun, if you want to have more events than any other conservative group on campus, if you want to have engaging conversations with your peers, then this is the place to do it.”