On March 23, the Mount St. Mary University Turning Point USA chapter (TPUSA), in conjunction with the Mount Republicans, hosted a talk by Isabel Brown. The event was heavily promoted which included the Washington D.C. area Field Representative for Turning Point USA handing out flyers across campus. Brown, a representative for TPUSA, was described as a “Gen Z conservative activist.” Brown began her half hour talk over zoom, followed by a Q&A segment in which attendees could submit questions through a chat feature.
Much of Brown’s talk centered on her personal experiences and journey into becoming a part of the conservative movement. She began by touching on what she saw as the issue of left-wing influence and left-wing bias in higher education. Brown, a graduate of Colorado State University, discussed how her time in college led her to participate more actively in politics. During the start of her time in college, Brown felt she was isolated in her values until she came across the organization Turning Point USA. During her time at Colorado State, TPUSA would become the largest club on campus. However, in spite of the popularity of TPUSA, Brown said she faced intense backlash for inviting conservative speakers on campus which was enough to warrant security at the events. Brown also claims to have faced direct social media harassment as a result of the views she promotes, including being doxed or having personal information such as an address being posted online without consent.
In spite of the seeming dominance of left-wing influence in academia, Brown expressed optimism in the form of the younger generation, Generation Z. Brown asserts that Generation Z is the most conservative generation since World War II. While this claim may be debated among groups today, Brown argues that this trend provides her comfort as she sees the activist efforts performed by other college students today.
Brown’s talk was relatively absent of any discussion of substantive, policy-based issues. However, she did list free speech and limited government as being some of the pinnacles of conservatism, even though the role of government is a topic heavily debated within conservative groups. Brown concluded her talk by encouraging those with conservative leanings to speak their minds and not be afraid to participate in the public discourse, especially on university campuses. She argues that conservatism is the new counterculture, in the same way leftism was in the 1950s and 60s.