The University of Florida Young Americans for Freedom chapter scored a huge victory against their school last week, when the university agreed to change their speech code and pay $66,000 in damages to the chapter.
Who is the brave student patriot who decided to take on her school in federal court?
Sarah Long, a rising junior from West Palm Beach, Florida who is studying Political Science, served as chairman of her YAF chapter last year. She, along with Danny Weldon, spearheaded the lawsuit, advocating for freedom and standing against the unconstitutional discrimination that their YAF chapter faced on a liberal campus.
Long said that all of the trouble started when the chapter wanted to bring Dinesh D’Souza to campus. “The student government asked us not to bring him, claiming that he was too controversial and would stir up a lot of trouble.”
Just a few months later, a new policy was put in place by the university, detailing that only some student organizations could bring speakers using student government money, leaving the door open for the university to discriminate against conservatives. Every student paid into the policy, but only some had access to the resources provided by the funding. The UF YAF chapter was disparately impacted by this new policy.
When did you get involved with YAF?
“I first got involved with YAF three years ago, right around the time our chapter brought Ben Shapiro to campus. I joined YAF because they were the only conservative organization doing meaningful activism and changing hearts and minds on campus.”
Why was it important for you to take on University of Florida in this lawsuit?
“YAF is the only organization on our campus that advocates for the protection of freedom, and values and rights that have always kept America great. If I wasn’t going to advocate for them, who would? No matter what an organization does or believes, a public university has the responsibility to be a marketplace of ideas and allow students to think for themselves.”
What has this lawsuit experience taught you?
“Throughout this lawsuit, our chapter has been swamped with criticism and doubt from our detractors. These bullies meant to dishearten us, but we knew that we were fighting for their rights as well. The fight for our constitutional rights is always one worth taking, and this lawsuit has cemented this idea in me.”
How has the chapter grown since the lawsuit?
“Despite being silenced by the university and heckled by students and elected officials alike, our chapters membership has grown by nearly 150%, and we had standing room only for each of our three speakers. While we certainly could have accomplished even more if the university hadn’t discriminated against us, I’m proud of what our chapter has accomplished, and we’ve certainly demonstrated students at UF are hungry for conservative thought.”
What is your experience like as a conservative woman on campus?
“Despite half of our executive board being female, and hosting a speaker each year since our inception to discuss women’s rights, we faced a near constant criticism of being against women’s rights by simply fighting for the the rights of the unborn. I have been told that I am anti women, and the student newspaper editor, unable to handle having a woman with an opinion that doesn’t fall in line with leftist thought, changed the name of our official committee in an article from the official name of “pro-life committee” to the “anti-abortion rights committee”. This just further goes to show how the left tries to demonize and silence women who they perceive to have the ‘wrong’ opinions.”
What are your plans after graduation?
“I plan to attend law school to pursue the defense of the Constitution and our founding principles. I am pursuing this to be more able to protect the system of government that our Founders have passed down to us, and to defend the civil liberties of students like myself around the country.”
What will the chapter do with the money?
“We hope to bring many conservative speakers for many years to come.”
Because of their leadership, both Long and Weldon were invited by the White House to attend President Trump’s signing of the Free Speech Executive Order.
UF YAF is one of many chapters across the country who are not afraid to speak out against the unfair treatment they receive from their liberal university administrators. If you are facing issues with your school, reach out to us and know that you can #WinWithYAF!