CSU student government presidential candidate renounces Turning Point USA affiliation

Haley Candelario

Colorado State University student government presidential candidate Liam Aubrey announced his campaign has no affiliation with Turning Point USA on the campaign’s social media Thursday evening. 

ASCSU Vice President candidate Lynsie Roper and President candidate Liam Aubrey answer questions during the ASCSU Theatre Debate outside of the Lory Student Center on March 21, 2018. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

TPUSA is a national conservative student group with a local chapter on campus. Presidential candidate Liam Aubrey said, while he was formerly involved with TPUSA because he agreed with the financial values of the organization, he distanced himself because he does not agree with the organization’s views or the views of the speakers TPUSA endorses.

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“I am a political conservative, but I feel that (TPUSA’s) views are not representative of my own,” Aubrey said. “Ultimately, my main value when it comes to politics is just figuring out how we can help people and do the most good for the most people. I think sometimes the shock value stuff is not the most productive way to get to that.”

TPUSA has been known to help student government campaigns on college campuses across the country, such as at Ohio State University and the University of Maryland, by financially assisting campaigns, encouraging TPUSA members to run for student government, and endorsing candidates, according to The Chronicle.

According to the ASCSU Elections Code, candidates are not allowed to receive donations that exceed the $1,250 spending limit.

In an email to The Collegian, Isabel Brown, the CSU chapter president of TPUSA, wrote the chapter only received funding from the national organization for their event hosting Charlie Kirk in early February. None of the current student government campaigns have received funding from the organization, Brown wrote.

According to campaign finance documents obtained by The Collegian, Aubrey and his running mate Lynsie Roper have not received any funding from TPUSA, or any other outside organization, to aid their campaign.

“I can say with all certainty, looking at my own bank account, that we are not being funded by anyone or anything like that,” Aubrey said. “We’re doing this because we truly do believe in CSU, we love CSU, and Lynsie and I, despite having very different political views, want to make (ASCSU) a nonpartisan (organization). We want to make this an organization that is not political but is totally focused on service. We are here for all students, and we want to work for every single one.”

I can say with all certainty, looking at my own bank account, that we are not being funded by anyone or anything like that.” Liam Aubrey, ASCSU presidential candidate

Brown wrote in an email to The Collegian that TPUSA focuses on limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility.

“Specifically at Colorado State, Turning Point USA is dedicated to breaking barriers between students and community members of juxtaposing political ideologies and starting a campus-wide dialogue about how we are, in fact, better together,” Brown wrote.

Speculation about Aubrey’s affiliation with TPUSA arose from the student group Students Against White Supremacy, which has been outspoken about how TPUSA could influence the student government elections.

Flyers that depicted Turning Point USA in KKK-style garb were spread on campus and online by members of Students Against White Supremacy and Intersectional Activism Network.

SAWS also accused TPUSA of white supremacist rhetoric during the CSUnite event on March 29, has spread flyers with the Intersectional Activism Network of a Ku Klux Klan-esque figure with the TPUSA logo and has questioned the Aubrey-Roper campaign in their social media posts about Aubrey’s affiliation with the organization, which led to the campaign making a statement that the campaign has no affiliation with TPUSA.

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“We will not reinforce hatred with more hatred, but rather by standing together because unity and conversation is what makes this campus a home for everyone,” the campaign wrote. “This campaign is dedicated to creating a mindful atmosphere as a core value of our campus.”

Aubrey said that his campaign shares the same goals of helping students like SAWS.

“I truly do believe in the mission of stopping hateful rhetoric on campus,” Aubrey said. “I think honestly the primary value of what Lynsie and I are trying to do … is, in a very unifying way, trying to help students … We really want to move past a lot of the political conversation because at the end of the day, student government … is just an organization that helps students. It’s not a partisan organization.”

Collegian News Director Haley Candelario can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.