TPUSA Founder and President Charlie Kirk
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
TPUSA Founder and President Charlie Kirk
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

The Turning Point USA chapter at the University of Iowa rejected the idea of Charlie Kirk, president of TPUSA, and Candace Owens, TPUSA communications director, hosting an immigration event at the University following the murder of Mollie Tibbetts who was a student there.

They tweeted out a letter written by the chapter’s executive board who all resigned in protest and ended their association with the organization.

Read the text of the letter below:

To Whom It May Concern:

Late this week, our chapter President was contacted by a field director for Turning Point USA in regards to the death of Mollie Tibbetts. The voicemail left insisted that Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens visit the University of Iowa to host an immigration event in light of the recent tragedy our campus has faced.

We respectfully decline this invitation. We find it in poor taste to exploit the death of a Hawkeye to suit a political agenda. Should this event go on, it does so without the support of this executive board. Members of this chapter would like time to grieve and mourn the death of their classmate. We are all shocked, hurting, and in need of more respect than what was given to us by Turning Point USA. 

This board also extends sympathy to the member of Mollie’s family that dealt with public harassment from Turning Point USA Communications Director, Candace Owens. We ask that your exchange with Owens represent only herself and not conservatives as a whole. UI TPUSA stands with you and grieves alongside you.

When members of this board took on their roles, they were told that Turning Point USA would focus solely on fiscal issues. Our chapter does not take responsibility for statements made by Turning Point USA regarding immigration or other social issues. With that being said, executive board members have stepped down from their positions and association with Turning Point USA.


Former University of Iowa Turning Point USA Executive Board Members

Update: The University of Iowa TPUSA chapter deleted the tweet and issued an apology. They said there was a misunderstanding. It seems that an event was discussed with Kirk and Owens, but not with Turning Point USA students. See the following two tweets. It is unclear whether the executive board members rescinded their resignation and disaffiliation with TPUSA.

So it seems as though an event was planned, but it was being done with students who are not part of the chapter. That said, there still appears to be an event in the works, on this topic, that has the national organization’s involvement. It also appears that TPUSA did not communicate with their local chapter.

Owens said an event was planned before the Mollie Tibbetts news.

Kirk and Owens have been outspoken on Twitter about the Tibbetts case:

Kelvey Vander Hart, who wrote for a TPUSA publication, recently wrote at Caffeinated Thoughts about how the organization had lost its bearing and original focus following the election of President Donald Trump.

She wrote: 

(O)ne of the biggest mistakes TPUSA ever made was letting growing popularity and increasing recognition derail the vision, mission, and environment of the organization. As Charlie Kirk (founder and executive director) became more popular and gained favor with the White House, and as they hired antagonistic and popular personalities like Candace Owens, the organizational direction seemed to shift drastically.

Suddenly, TPUSA became a lot less focused on educating students about the importance of free markets and limited government. Instead, they became obsessed with having celebrity favor (hello Kanye!) and relentlessly defending President Trump. Campus chapters have been left in the dust, and people are leaving the organization in droves as they realize that the mission no longer matters to the people who are supposed to be leading the charge.

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