Arlington, TX: Students demand Turning Point USA bigots get out of student government
Arlington, TX – On March 24, an email went out to senators of the University of Texas at Arlington student government detailing screenshots from the Turning Point USA discord server that revealed the student government President Caitlyn Burge-Surles and student government Chief of Staff Alyssa Spencer engaging in racist, transphobic and generally bigoted rhetoric.
Some examples of these messages include a screenshot of Caitlyn at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2021 with the caption “twins, but one of us is a woman!” Burge-Surles and Spencer spouting off about the racist conspiracy theory that George Floyd was killed by fentanyl and not Derrick Chauvin, saying that Africans had just as much complicity in chattel slavery as America, and Burge-Surles saying that in order to solve the problems of the Middle East Iran had to be bombed as a “one and done.”
These screenshots sent shockwaves both throughout student government and the larger student body. A document was created compiling the screenshots and accusations. Organizations from the NAACP, Black Student Association, African Student Association, the Progressive Student Union and the Gender & Sexuality Alliance all released statements condemning the bigotry, demanding that the school take action. At protest that following Monday, on March 28, over 50 people gathered from the various organizations to say, “No bigots on our campus!”
The protesters moved inside the building, down where the student governance office is, and re-issued the demands to the university officials. They called for the hiring of a diversity, equity, and inclusivity staff person, the impeachment and resignations of the student government officers, an investigation into the conduct of Turning Point USA, an investigation into the advisor of student government, and a statement to condemn all the bigoted statements made by Burge-Surles and Spencer.
Progressive Student Union held a week long call-in to bring these matters to the attention of the student government advisor, and the office of student conduct. As of this writing neither have officially condemned the rhetoric or begun investigations.
Right now Burge-Surles and Spencer have been impeached by the student senate and will be facing trial on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Another student government official, Thomason Clayton who is the vice president, has also been impeached regarding chauvinistic and misogynistic conduct towards women while in office.
Students across campus at the University of Texas at Arlington let it be known that bigots should not have a seat at student government.