Students at the University of North Texas (UNT) are trying to get a “Young Conservatives” group banned from campus due to “racism, transphobia and homophobia”.
The Young Conservatives of Texas is a state-wide organisation that has chapters in 20 universities.
A petition calling for the group to be removed from campus has already received more than 2,600 signatures.
Ryan Semegran, president of the university’s LGBT+ alliance organisation GLAD UNT, was one of the students who started the petition.
Semegran told PinkNews that they want the Young Conservatives chapter removed from campus due to “blatant homophobia, transphobia, and racism” towards students.
The petition links to a tweet posted by the UNT chapter of Young Conservatives in September of 2019 that said: “Pronouns in your twitter bio isn’t a personality trait”.
During the same month, the group told UNT GLAD in a since-deleted tweet that their group was based on “having HIV”.
In October of last year, the group tweeted: “It’s #NationalComingOutDay so come to the fountain mall today at 12pm to come out as a conservative – and get snacks.”
Semegran’s petition said the tweet “dismissed the countless LGBT+ individuals who bravely come out and publicly express their gender identity and sexual orientation”.
The students have also accused the group of racism over a bake sale in 2016where the price list charged people different amounts based on their gender and ethnicity.
LGBT+ students and people of colour are being made to feel ‘unsafe’ by Young Conservatives at the Texas university.
“UNT is a minority serving university that prides itself on its diversity and inclusivity but seems to turn a blind eye when those minority students feel unsafe on campus with an organisation like Young Conservatives of Texas there,” Semegran said.
“They claim we are attacking their conservative values when it isn’t that at all. We are speaking out against their blatant hateful actions that they do not take accountability for.”
Semegran said the Young Conservatives group is a hate group disguised as a conservative organisation.
“Students of colour, queer students and international students go to find refuge at universities like UNT,” they added.
More from PinkNews
“It champions freedom of speech; however under UNT’s own policy, this is not applicable to hateful speech that makes students feel unsafe or is strenuous on their health/wellbeing.”
Semegran said they have received “countless testimonies” from queer students, past and present, as well as their family members, claiming that they have been made to feel unsafe on campus by the Young Conservatives group.
LGBT+ students should feel safe to be who they are without being harassed online or on campus grounds. It’s basic human decency.
“If this is how a group thinks they can act towards the LGBT+ community and to people of colour on campus, this is probably how they are going to act once they are out of college.”
Semegran said the comments made by the UNT chapter of the Young Conservatives about the LGBT+ community and about people of colour have been “downright scary”.
“At the end of the day this is ultimately a campus safety issue,” Semegran said.
“LGBT+ students should feel safe to be who they are without being harassed online or on campus grounds. It’s basic human decency.”
PinkNews has contacted the University of North Texas, the Young Conservatives chapter at UNT and the Young Conservatives of Texas for comment.