Turning Point USA FIU chapter under fire for racist chat

Photo of FIU Turning Point USA members courtesy of Driena Sixto.

By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director


The FIU chapter of Turning Point USA, a right-wing political activist group, has come under intense scrutiny as screenshots were released of their group chat containing inappropriate racist jokes.

(Courtesy of Miami New Times)

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the Miami New Times released an article containing screenshots of the chat, in which members made jokes about Swedish women getting raped by Syrian men, dressing up as ICE officers and aggressively grappling latina women, and watching pornography of underaged animated women.

This scandal comes almost one year after Student Media reported on another right-wing group on campus, FIU College Republicans, also had their group chat leaked after it featured jokes relating to the deportation of DACA recipients at the University.

Driena Sixto, FIU alumna and regional manager for Turning Point, told Student Media that the messages sent in the group chat do not represent the views of her organization as a whole, and that the chats have since been deactivated.

(Courtesy of Miami New Times)

Sixto, a Hispanic woman herself, said that she had the chats on mute while jokes were being made as she cannot “micromanage every chat,” and although the jokes were inappropriate, they did not offend her personally.

“While I disagree with the messaging, some people find it offensive, but I don’t get offended easily,” Sixto said to Student Media. “While there is an epidemic of rape in Sweden, this could’ve been messaged much better. I do side with the women who are affected by this due to bad immigration policies.”

FIU’s Turning Point Chapter President Andrew Pis refused to comment to Student Media when questioned in person.

University professor Ronald Cox, who is a member of the group Democratic Socialists of America, has called for the removal of Turning Point as an official student organization on campus.

“A group of 70 faculty object to their recent behavior and believe that it is grounds for suspension of their student status based on specific university regulations involving code of conduct,” said Cox in an email to John Stack, the inaugural dean of the School of International and Public Affairs.

University President Mark B. Rosenberg sent a statement to New Times saying that the  Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution is looking into the chats and that if a violation has occurred, they will take appropriate action.

“The sentiments reflected in the screenshots are incompatible with the values of our FIU community and inconsistent with a safe and inclusive campus environment,” read the statment.

Andy Vila, president of FIU’s chapter Young Democratic Socialists of America, told Student Media that he feels that this statement from Rosenberg is not enough.

“The statement by Rosenberg was milquetoast. The University should be doing more because people on this campus feel threatened,” said Vila.

As of the time of this writing, Turning Point’s page on the University organization site PantherConnect is still open.


Student Media will continue to update this article as more information becomes available.

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