Updated: Aug 4, 2018
Alex Scruggs | News Editor
Hundreds of political signs were put up in BAL by an on-campus group, Turning Point USA ODU, last night. The signs had various messages, some reading, “Socialism kills, do something about it; Make taxation theft again; Socialism sucks; and I’m pro-choice, pick your gun.”
Turning Point USA is a conservative non-profit group geared toward educating people on free-market values. “I’m expecting them to upset people,” said Dan O’Connor, president of TPUSA at ODU. O’Connor, with two other advocates for the group, had 360 signs to place. “(TPUSA provides) them free for anyone who wants to be active on campus.”
This all happened around 9:30 p.m. After placing many signs in the main stairwell, O’Connor and the other TPUSA ODU representatives moved on to the lobby. Even though it was late and most classes had ended, they drew some attention.
Four patrol aids and one ODUPD officer were called to the scene. “A professor called in a complaint, so dispatch sent a couple officers over to make sure the situation was under control,” said Casey Richardson, a patrol aid officer. “Usually if you put up any controversial sign that isn’t approved, you might have some discord between the students,” said Richardson.
O’Connor was not dissuaded by the ODUPD officer, who concluded that there was no wrongdoing and TPUSA was within its rights to put up the signs. “I’ve gotten approval. I’ve been putting these posters up since the beginning of the year.” The approval came from the SGA, O’Connor says.
One SGA member this morning said that O’Connor had approval to put up signs in Webb but was unsure if BAL was included. He said that the SGA was “pretty sure he’s not in violation.”
“I was not the one that called them, obviously,” said O’Connor. “It just shows that some people on campus think they need to get the police involved when their feelings are hurt.”
Jonathan Arslan, a passing student, said, “I have no opinion on the organization, Turning Point, but I think they should totally be allowed to put signs up for it. You see signs from different political perspectives on campus all the time. I think people are just mad because they put up a lot of them.”
Tanner Ophof, a student sitting in BAL’s lobby, said, “I’m not bothered by them. I don’t necessarily agree with it but I think they have just as much right as anyone else to put stuff up.” Ophof continued, “My friend was like, ‘If they’re not supporting socialism, what do they support?’ which I thought was a good point.”
By 9:30 a.m. this morning, all the signs had been removed. One student reported seeing a maintenance worker taking them down.