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The New Guard

YAF Chapter Sues California College Administrators for Free Speech Violations

By

Kara Zupkus

July 19, 2023

Flores v. Bennett is the latest civil rights action emanating from Young America’s Foundation—through the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE)—under the First and Fourteenth Amendments following violations of conservative students’ constitutional rights.

Officers of the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at Clovis Community College (CCC) in Fresno, California, filed a federal lawsuit against CCC President Dr. Lori Bennett and other administrators on Thursday after facing targeted ideological discrimination for distributing flyers promoting Young America’s Foundation’s Freedom Week initiative.

Freedom Week flyers removed by Clovis administrators after students complained.

Freedom Week flyers removed by Clovis administrators after students complained.

Freedom Week flyers removed by Clovis administrators after students complained.

Despite being officially recognized by the school, the CCC YAF chapter has faced an uphill battle to organize on campus––including administrators scheming to remove the chapter’s approved flyers and limiting the distribution of additional YAF materials to an approved “free speech kiosk.”

Pro-life flyers that were denied approval to be hung.

Young America’s Foundation, the parent organization of Young Americans for Freedom, is partnering with FIRE to hold Clovis Community College administrators accountable in a court of law.

Alejandro Flores, chairman of the Clovis YAF chapter and a plaintiff named in the suit––along with peers Juliette Colunga and Daniel Flores––is determined to hold his school accountable after witnessing firsthand the viewpoint discrimination his chapter faced.

“Our goal with this lawsuit is to ensure that everyone has the right to free expression,” Flores said. “When administrators pick and choose what speech is acceptable, you no longer have free speech. We hope this lawsuit sends a clear message to all tyrannical administrators out there––YAF is on watch.”

“Free speech is under attack on campuses across the nation, and the recent, improper action by Clovis Community College administrators is another disappointing example,” stated Young America’s Foundation President Governor Scott Walker. “The school’s leadership violated the First Amendment by stifling and censoring conservative students’ free speech rights. Young America’s Foundation is proud to partner with FIRE on this important lawsuit, putting schools nationwide on notice: conservatives will not be bullied into silence and submission.”

“Clovis Community College’s policy and its application are illegal, and FIRE won’t let them get away with it,” said FIRE Attorney Gabe Walters. “Clovis administrators ‘gladly’ removed flyers they found offensive, and we’re gladly suing them to protect Alejandro, Juliette, and Daniel’s rights—and those of all students.”

Young Americans for Freedom was founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. and a group of young conservatives in 1960 at the Buckley home in Sharon, Connecticut. Today, YAF promotes to youth the principles of limited government, individual freedom, free enterprise, a strong national defense, and traditional values. YAF chapters accomplish this by participating in a wide range of campus initiatives, including the 9/11: Never Forget Project and Freedom Week and hosting prominent conservative speakers.

Read the full complaint here, and visit YAF.org for more updates on this important litigation.

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