I am a University of Chicago College Council representative who served on the Committee on Recognized Student Organizations (CORSO) during the 2022–23 academic year. I am writing in response to “The Inside Story of Why UChicago Fell from First Place to Thirteenth in FIRE’s Free Speech Rankings” (September 8).
The Thinker reports “‘there is a singular reason’ for UChicago’s fall: the school’s controversial refusal to give registered student organization (RSO) status to the campus chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA).” If that is the case, FIRE’s downgrade of UChicago was based on a false censorship narrative. CORSO’s denial of RSO status to TPUSA was administrative, not politically minded.
Like many universities, UChicago lacks the funding to support every prospective student group. At the time of the TPUSA’s application, the group had only been active for a few months and had hosted just a handful of events, far less than many other applicants. This is below the standard for most groups to receive RSO status and the investment that comes with it.
Yet, far from shunning TPUSA, CORSO counseled the group to wait a year, host more events, and apply again.
I am concerned that bad actors are using our rejection of TPUSA’s application to malign UChicago’s reputation for supporting free expression. That narrative could not be further from the truth. If Turning Point USA is able to continue delivering successful events that enrich student life, there is no doubt in my mind that they will be granted official recognition.
— Aaron Wineberg (B.A. ’24)
* The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.