Despite recent legal developments, the University at Buffalo (UB) and its Student Association (SA) are unabated in their mission to sideline the school’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) from campus. These relentless and unconstitutional efforts come after the conservative student group hosted a highly successful Michael Knowles lecture last semester.
After a lawsuit was brought forward by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of the YAF students, the SA was forced to concede that its original policy prohibiting student organizations from affiliating with national organizations was an infringement on students’ Constitutional rights.
However, it appears that they still lack a correct understanding of the First Amendment and the associated duties they are bound to uphold for their peers.
After repealing the first unconstitutional policy, the SA replaced it with another unconstitutional policy that would make it impossible for the YAF chapter to maintain a bank account, enter into contracts, and file lawsuits against the university or its officials.
Each of these rights is essential to the operation of the YAF chapter. Without funding and the ability to enter into agreements, the chapter would no longer be able to host prominent conservatives on campus or host activism projects like 9/11: Never Forget and Freedom Week. Without the right to file lawsuits, the university and its tyrants-in-training who run the SA would be able to impose any number of restrictions on the defenseless chapter without any form of legal accountability.
Commenting on the situation, UB YAF Chairman Justin Hill expressed his disappointment, saying, “Public universities should foster a truly diverse environment where all viewpoints and ideas are welcome, yet for myself and the other students in our chapter at UB, the Student Association seems intent on censoring and silencing us because of our beliefs.” Hill reiterated his chapter’s firm commitment to defending their rights, adding, “Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution is on our side and protects our freedom to assemble and speak. We remain committed to pursuing our First Amendment rights, not only for ourselves but also for every other student at the university.”
ADF has amended the lawsuit on behalf of the YAF chapter and its leaders to challenge the new policy.
The persistence of UB’s efforts to suppress YAF’s presence on campus underscores the impact that these bold student activists have had on the university throughout the past six years since the chapter’s founding. The chapter, which has grown to have more than 100 members, plays an essential role in ensuring that students are exposed to conservative ideas – not only the predominant leftist narrative that plagues campuses throughout the country. In addition to Knowles, the chapter has hosted numerous conservative speakers such as Ben Shapiro, Dinesh D’Sousa, and Lt. Col. Allen West. They intend to host many more for years to come.