Young America’s Foundation, in partnership with Alliance Defending Freedom, is standing up for the rights of conservative students at the University at Buffalo who currently face the dissolution of their Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the hands of petty and vindictive student government officers and complicit university administrators.
Attorneys representing the UB YAF chapter and its board members filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York Thursday afternoon, challenging the university’s decision to derecognize the chapter and deny it the same benefits given to other student groups, solely based on its affiliation with our national organization.
In March, shortly after a successful event featuring conservative commentator Michael Knowles, the Student Association revised its club recognition policies, explicitly prohibiting chapters of national organizations. This sudden change, coupled with the SA president’s acknowledgment of the student government’s intentions behind the policy, clearly indicates that YAF students were targeted for their views and track record of highly impactful conservative campus activism.
The unjust derecognition of YAF by the Student Association further violates the students’ rights to free speech and assembly, expressly protected by the First Amendment.
“University of Buffalo’s policy violates the First Amendment by discriminating against us just because we are part of a national organization. We all pay a student activity fee to fund student groups and now we are not even allowed to have access to those funds. We are committed to taking a stand and protecting the freedom of all students to speak freely and without unconstitutional restrictions on campus,” UB YAF Chairman Justin Hill told the New Guard.
YAF has been an established student organization on the University at Buffalo campus since 2017, attracting thousands of students to lectures featuring the likes of Ben Shapiro, Lt. Col. Allen West, and Michael Knowles, among others.
In addition to hosting speaker events, the chapter inspires students to understand and be inspired by conservative ideas by distributing flyers, hosting tabling events, and engaging in meaningful conversations and debates with fellow students.
As a result of the chapter’s derecognition, UB YAF is now ineligible to receive its allocation of the Mandatory Student Activity Fee, and it cannot function as a student organization or reserve spaces on campus.
Young America’s Foundation remains committed to defending the principles of free speech, open dialogue, and the rights of conservative students on college campuses nationwide.
“Universities have a duty to ensure the voices of conservative students are heard and protected,” YAF President Governor Scott Walker remarked. “We’ll continue to work with our friends at ADF to ensure that’s the case for UB YAF. To the college students who are fighting for their constitutional rights on campuses across the country, you are not alone – YAF has your back.”