Emerson College officials are investigating Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a conservative nonprofit group from the college’s Boston campus, for handing out stickers that allegedly criticized the Chinese government.
What happened: The stickers, which contain a character from the mobile game “Among Us” and the words “China Kinda Sus [slang for suspicious],” were meant to criticize the Chinese Community Party and not Chinese people, Sam Neves, the president of TPUSA – Emerson, told The College Fix.
At American universities you can criticize this country like it’s your sole purpose of being there. But when you criticize the government of China you’re called a racist by the administration. What’s up with that? @EmersonCollege #Chinakindasus https://t.co/4D56DJwJQd
— taylor (@therealistaylor) October 5, 2021
- “The expression of free ideas cannot and should not violate these standards that are integral to creating an environment where all members of our community feel a sense of belonging,” Interim Emerson President William Gilligan said. He added that it is important to denounce any form of bigotry and hate toward the Asian and Asian American community, especially when there has been a rise in anti-Asian sentiment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In an email to The College Fix, Neves accused school officials of condemning their organization and “assigning racist malice” to the stickers without consulting them first.
- “The sticker contained the symbol of the CCP, which should make it obvious it was referring to the Chinese government, and not about Chinese people,” he said in his email.
- “Now our organization faces removal from campus and all our board members face potential disciplinary action by the school,” Neves said. “As an international student, some of those disciplinary actions could get me deported out of the United States.”
- TPUSA Vice President and Campus Coordinator Kjersten Lynum, whose family hails from China and Singapore, released a video to defend the organization’s stickers, insisting that they were targeted toward the government.
- “The sticker intends to criticize the Chinese government, the regime responsible for the largest genocide in the world right now. It has nothing to do with Asian ethnicity or Asian culture,” Lynum said. The organization’s vice president also added, “I’m offended that people would suggest I have hatred towards my own race.”
The mob didn’t like our stickers, we don’t like the mob. Emerson admins assigned racist malice to our ‘China Kinda Sus’ stickers. See our response! @charliekirk11 @theisabelb @MorganZegers @TheJordanRachel @GrahamAllen_1 @bennyjohnson @ErinElmore @_Kendalljones_ @therealistaylor pic.twitter.com/11udLcSJYO
— Turning Point USA – Emerson (@tpusaemerson) October 1, 2021
Other details: The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) denounced the stickers as “xenophobic weapons,” while the Emerson Chinese Students Association said the stickers were “utterly senseless and intolerable.” The latter also demanded that school officials issue an apology and to take disciplinary actions against the conservative group.
- Another organization, however, assisted TPUSA amid the incident. FIRE, a nonprofit that promotes free speech at Emerson College, demanded the college drop its charges against TPUSA, KATV reported.
- “Criticism of governments is a core political expression protected by principles of free expression that Emerson pledges to uphold,” the group said.
- The OISA retorted in a campus wide email, “The 1st amendment and U.S. Constitution restricts the government from limiting speech, but words have power and words have consequences. When words are used to create a hostile environment for community members, this can cause true harm.”