Florida International University right wing student group under fire over racist messages and rape jokes
The Florida International University (FIU) chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a far-right college group, are making headlines after the group’s Whatsapp chats were leaked showing members making Islamophobic rape memes, joking about sexual assault, and deportation threats against Latinx students. Now, FIU professors and student activists are organizing to demand administrative action against the group.
Earlier this week, the Miami News Times published screenshots of a Whatsapp chat between TPUSA members making anti-Muslim and anti-Black derogatory messages using Pepe the Frog memes and joking about trying to “aggressively tackle Latinas and deport them.”
One TPUSA member warns other members to “avoid using the n word and don’t reference Richard Spencer too much and don’t Jew hate … all the time.”
In a Twitter video, president of FIU’s Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapter Andy Villa, approaches FIU’s TPUSA table and asks about the racial deragatory messages and rape jokes. The TPUSA member says, “No comment,” and walks away.
President of @TPUSA FIU Chapter cowardly runs away after being calmly asked by @YDSAFIU president @Vilydna to explain internal chats by his chapter referencing Richard Spencer, islamophobic rape memes, jokes about sexually assaulting latinas and deporting them, and antisemitism. pic.twitter.com/YfM2Q1bfGM
— Tomas Kennedy (@tomaskenn) October 17, 2018
Dozens of FIU professors and student activists are organizing against the group and demanding Florida International University to condemn their comments. FIU professor of international relations, Ronald W. Cox, is leading a Faculty action by drafting and submitting a letter to FIU’s president, Mark Rosenberg, asking him to remove TPUSA as a student organization. Cox is currently collecting faculty signatures.
The Miami News Times obtained the faculty letter, which reads, “This is an appalling set of practices that go well beyond any reasonable interpretation of ‘free speech.’ In fact, this organization, demonstrated by the behavior of the FIU chapter, is antithetical to academic norms of free speech, intellectual discourse and tolerance of opposing views… Therefore, given the extensive paper trail of racist, misogynistic, homophobic and xenophobic behavior demonstrated by the FIU Turning Point USA chapter, which is consistent with the practices and behavior of Turning Point USA as a national organization, we call on the FIU administration to rescind the recognition of the FIU Turning Point USA chapter as an official student organization.”
Many students are also irate at TPUSA’s recent actions and have started a petition for the organization to be removed. Linda Guillotti, president for the National Organization for Women (NOW) FIU chapter told the Black Youth Project, “Violence against women and racism is never a laughing matter. NOW FIU calls for the president of Turning Point to step down as we find his appalling behavior destructive to a fair and safe educational environment.”