I’ve been working on campus at Portland State University multiple times a week for about a month now. Despite the far-left nature of the campus, Turning Point has made some amazing progress so far. In my time here, I’ve identified hundreds of conservatives (as well as many classical liberals) that are sympathetic to the universal messages of limited government, civil liberties, constitutional conservatism, and the wonder of free markets. We’ve already established our executive board for the chapter, and it is filled with well-spoken, well-read students who cannot bear to see their university fall (any more than it already has) to ineffective big government policies.
The success so far has not come without tests of our resolve, however. As of now, there are seven different Marxist or socialist organizations on Portland State campus. These groups and their members have consistently and constantly verbally harassed our table, insulted those who have signed up with us (including insults of race, gender, and character), and have done nothing congruent with civilized political discourse. I have since invited each and every one of these groups to a public debate on campus. Of course, not a single group has agreed to debate me or a member of the Turning Point chapter. We go out of our way to espouse the necessity of freedom of speech for these Marxist groups, but if you asked them the same about us, I assure you that they’d sing a different tune – that truly is the difference between the ideology of our groups.
It is no doubt that Portland State will not yield the quantitative results that chapters in bluer states will, but we are making great headway into making Turning Point @ PSU the chapter for the “closeted conservatives” of Portland. I genuinely feel that we are cornering the market on the values of constitutionalism and free markets, and many students are glad to have found the single oasis of anti-leftist ideas on campus. I cannot wait to see what this chapter brings and how many more engaged students we will find.