The University of New Hampshire (UNH) chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA) will host TPUSA’s founder and CEO Charlie Kirk from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) Granite State Room on Thursday, Oct. 24.
TPUSA is a “501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk. The organization’s mission is to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government” per TPUSA’s official website. The organization boasts activity on 1,500 college campuses and has been publicly endorsement by President Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio.
Charlie Kirk, according to UNH TPUSA President Mitchell Scacchi, a sophomore political science major, is a “nationally-recognized political figure, appearing on Fox News, CNBC and FOX Business News over 600 times, all at the age of 26. He is a best-selling author, a proud Eagle Scout, was featured on Forbes 30 under 30 in 2018 and was the youngest to speak at the 2016 Republican National Convention.”
When asked to describe TPUSA at UNH, Scacchi repeated TPUSA’s mission statement, saying that TPUSA at UNH accomplishes this role by creating an “open dialogue” through “events, guest speakers and discussions” around campus.
As a self-proclaimed “non-partisan” student organization, TPUSA at UNH has had their fair share of battles. Two years ago, TPUSA at UNH hosted political commentator and self-proclaimed “classical liberal” Dave Rubin. The event fostered “considerable backlash in the form of protesters blocking the entrance from people trying to enter the venue and (deliberately) disrupting the event as it was happening.” According to Scacchi, this continued for quite some time and ultimately hindered the event from continuing. Scacchi has also mentioned that TPUSA at UNH has their fliers damaged and vandalized on a regular basis.
Nationally, the view of TPUSA isn’t any better. Some columnists and journalists have found fault with TPUSA. On June 26, Haley Victory Smith, an opinion columnist for USA TODAY fired shots at Charlie Kirk, writing “often in the service of his beloved president, this conservative luminary presents a skewed version of the truth.”
As for their Culture Wars event, Scacchi and TPUSA at UNH have made strides to ensure that that it runs smoothly on Thursday.
“We have talked extensively with UNH administration, UNH Police and UNH student organizations that may not agree with our principles to bridge the divide that was evident at the Dave Rubin event,” Scacchi said.
Scacchi added that “we are all UNH students and we are all Wildcats. We at TPUSA at UNH respect all other UNH students immensely, no matter their political affiliations and we want this event to not only go well for our student organization, but to go well for the University as a whole. We want it to be an enjoyable and respectful experience for all who attend.”
Scacchi is hopeful that Culture Wars will reach these goals thanks to revamped efforts by UNH administration to protect the free speech of all of its students: “free speech is one of the core values of TPUSA. As a public university, UNH has a constitutional responsibility to uphold the free speech of its students. After the Dave Rubin event two years ago, the University administration has had a greater focus and interest in protecting the free speech rights of its students and this has been evident in our talks and meetings with UNH administration.”
TPUSA at UNH has been active this semester holding weekly meetings on Tuesdays from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in MUB 334. On Thursday, Charlie Kirk will be accompanied by Senator Rand Paul to discuss free markets, free speech, big government, American exceptionalism, the political right, the political left and the battle over America’s culture.