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  • Free Speech ZoneOver the last few days, a number of articles have highlighted how APU has attempted to defend its actions in banning a YAF chapter on campus. The school claims its support of conservative students and ideas. However, APU should back up its statements by supporting students who want to form a chapter and not by blocking their associations. We do not accept second class student status for young leaders especially when the reason given is a statement on our website that applies "if" the university sees itself as bias. Azusa's administrators obviously saw themselves as such.  

    The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute has also worked with Ashley Blackwell to advance conservatism on campus and writes about how Ashley had multiple encounters with liberal students and administrators on campus.

    Catherine Rodriquez, lecture director at Clare Boothe Luce writes: 

    Much has been made about the recent coverage of 2012 CBLPI summer intern Ashley Blackwell and her fight to establish a Young Americans for Freedom chapter on her Azusa Pacific University campus. Many individuals have come to the school's defense, insisting that APU is a good Christian school that seeks to promote a sense of community and embraces students of all kinds and with all beliefs.

    Unfortunately, Ashley's experience does not reflect such tolerance. While it may be true that APU considers itself a campus that "supports the opportunity for all students to engage in open political dialogue," its administrators appeared to turn a largely blind eye to the bias and bullying Ashley and her fellow conservative students face there. Like scores of conservative college students across the country, this isn't Ashley's first run-in with campus leftists.

    You can read the rest of the post here.

    Young America's Foundation will continue to warn conservative students considering attending APU that they will be treated differently because of their beliefs. 

    • Readers' Comments

    • This student practices what they preech only on the internet. She is silent in the classroom atmoshpere and never makes an effort to reach out to her peers to intelligently speak with them or the APU administration, which is always willing to speak to students. Cheap shot at fame .
      Posted by Erik on 10/15/2012
    • Congratulations to YAF- you have managed to turn Ashley Blackwell into Sandra Fluke. Ms Blackwell is not merely asking for the right to exercise her own personal rights, she is insisting that the private university that she attends compromise its own principles in order to accommodate hers. Numerous comments on this blog have repeatedly made the case that APU is one of the most congenial college environments that a conservative student is likely to find, and that its objection to YAF has nothing to do with ideological bias. But lets pretend for a minute that APU is openly hostile and discrimnatory towards conservative students. That still would not confer upon Ms Blackwell any right to have her club officially recognized, nor would it impose any obligation on APU to defend or justify its actions. Students make demands on colleges in all sorts of ways - the recognition of a club or the free provisioning of contraceptives are only two examples - but in every case involving a private college, it is the prerogative of the administration to set its own rules, just as it is the prerogative of students to pursue their own interests with their own resources. The evidence is that APU already allows Ms Blackwell's conservative club to engage in the same activities that one would expect from a sanctioned YAF chapter, and that this is really a battle being fought on behalf of some people'e egos - but to the extent that conservative students at APU are actually disenfranchised in some way, it seems to me that your organization's efforts would be better directed at finding creative solutions that can satisfy both the students needs and the legitimate concerns of the university, rather than whining about not getting your own way. As to Ms Blackwell, I am sorry that she has been forced to coexist with students who are liberal and/or rude, even though the incidents she described are petty when compared to the routine experience of college students, and even though the APU administration promptly and effectively resolved the problems. Of course, Ms Blackwell always has the option to transfer to a college where she will never again have to encounter any liberal or rude students, if she can find such a place. Perhaps YAF can give her a referral.
      Posted by Jim Belna on 10/15/2012
    • Jim, I've never seen people -- including you -- so angry about a students' God-given right to start a YAF chapter on campus. Your sarcastic tone criticizing YAF as people with egos and whining is actually quite ironically, unChristian. If this is the type of intolerant treatment you give YAF online, I can imagine the type of treatment conservatives get at APU is quite bad. I'm sure private universities have "the right" to do many things, but that doesn't make it right or "Christian." Wow, and then at the end of your post, you suggest Ms. Blackwell can transfer. How tolerant and open-minded of you.
      Posted by Giant on 10/15/2012
    • Oh, and Jim, the Constitution protects the right to free speech and freely associate, not the right to force private institutions to pay for birth control. Ashley Blackwell doesn't have to force a private institution to do anything, her rights to form her own club on campus are ALREADY guaranteed by God and the Constitution as the right to freely express her views and associations. Your private institution is not recognizing students' God-given rights, which is a cruel and intolerant policy to have towards its students.
      Posted by Giant on 10/15/2012
    • Read the article. But first, find it interesting that you do not note that the president of YAF is married to the president of Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. Talk about nepotism. You write this like some independent group also happened to have contact with Blackwell. This is a coordinated shake down of APU by a cabal of people who don't exactly want all the facts revealed. Any organization interested in the truth would have put that caveat up front. So, Blackwell had an RA that was overtly political, she complained about it and the university responded by saying RAs could no longer do that. She won. What's the problem? APU backed her up and you admit it. And she invited a speaker, and your complaint is APU did not do her work for her? She invited her, not APU. APU let her come, which they did not have to do. And the only other compliant is some people laughed at the guest speaker. I fail to see where free speech was violated. People have the right to laugh at anything they want. If you want the right to speak, others have the right to laugh at it. There is still no evidence that APU abridged her right to free speech. Furthermore, your assertion that APU must think they are liberal because they took issue with the fact that YAF assumes that all universities are liberal is such poor logic. Perhaps they have a problem with predetermined narratives. Or are you asserting that predetermined narratives are essentially the hallmark of the conservative cause today -- because we'd agree with that. Fox News, anyone? You still have not made the case that anyone's free speech was abridged. So, you headline is misleading again. Not that you care. This is not about truth in speech. It's about YAF getting one more chapter even if it means violating freedom of religion, which YAF clearly does not support.
      Posted by on 10/15/2012
    • Giant. Seriously? YAF chapters are a God given right? In the Constitution? Can you point me to the chapter and verse on that one? And can you explain how freedom of religion is a secondary consideration when YAF, a secular organization, is involved? What about APU's right to freely associate? Blackwell can and does associate with YAF. She cannot force APU to do so. It's that simple.
      Posted by on 10/15/2012
    • Where in the Constitution does it say APU has the right to ban and censor speech? Well, YAF stands for traditional values. The fact that you attack FoxNews is a dead giveaway I'm dealing with a leftist who does not want conservative ideas on their campus. APU's administrators cannot force their intolerance and censorship on their students, not allowing them to investigate values of free enterprise, limited government, and traditional values. It's that simple.
      Posted by Giant on 10/15/2012
    • Wow. So reading the Clare Booth Luce article, it appears that Blackwell may have become a conservative because her freshman RA dared her to go without make-up. It's time we started to blame the right person for this controversy -- that feminazi RA. This story is like cheese -- gets stinkier with age. Keep on posting YAF.
      Posted by Emily S on 10/15/2012
    • Giant, show evidence APU banned speech. They allow Blackwell to speak, bring speakers to campus, and affiliate with YAF. You recognize that? Is your entire case built on a YAF chapter not being officially affiliated with APU? That's a narrow definition of speech, in fact, it's one that would not hold up in court. And why don't you address the freedom of religion issue? How can a private organization be made to affiliate with an organization that does not share its values of civil discourse under the Constitution. You seem to be dodging the questions here by making allegations that anyone who disagrees with you is censoring you and everyone else.
      Posted by Karen on 10/16/2012
    • Since when have they allowed a YAF chapter on campus? What is the administration's problem with being affiliated with the most main stream organization as YAF? Because the language about Marxists is too offensive and divisive? How is that divisive language? Reasonable people can disagree. But people who disagree at APU don't even want their to be a debate on campus about having a YAF chapter. What are they so afraid of?
      Posted by Giant on 10/16/2012
    • Oh, they allowed Blackwell to speak?! Did you hear that ladies and gentleman?! Wow! Congratulations. You mean they didn't put tape over her mouth. What an open-minded administration. Thank you so much for "allowing her" to speak. For a university which preaches tolerance of others, it's pretty intolerant and extreme to disallow a YAF chapter on campus simply because they disagree with its mainstream viewpoints. College is supposed to be a place that celebrates a diversity of opinion. Students have a God-given right to establish clubs in schools--it's there God-given freedom to do so. Does APU endorse the college Democrats on campus, simply because they are affiliated with APU? Certainly, they would say no. Does APU endorse their Progressive club, simply because they are on the APU website? Certainly, APU administrators would say no we don't necessarily endorse them. If APU allows speakers from YAF, affiliations from YAF, and does "so much" for YAF on campus already...then why not allow an official YAF chapter on campus? Your argument that they allow "so much" already isn't a sympathetic argument.
      Posted by Giant on 10/16/2012
    • I will probably never understand why someone would hate a person or God. But, what makes sense to me is Diologue and this does not seem like fair Diologue. Shalom God bless
      Posted by John son of John on 10/16/2012
    • Giant, APU made it clear why they don't want to associate with YAF. They don't share the same values of civil discourse. The argument being sympathetic to YAF is not the issue. You're making false claims that free speech has been abridged. But there is no evidence of that. Nor has free association been abridged. Part of free association is deciding whom one does not want to associate with. APU does not want to associate with YAF officially. That's their God-given right. There is no God-given right to force a private institution to associate with anyone.
      Posted by Grandson of Erik on 10/16/2012
    • Watching Giant's comments evolve illumines two common fallacies YAF has promoted in this and other controversies. Earlier Giant says that the problem is that APU is not recognizing Blackwell's right to freely express herself. But when its noted that Blackwell IS allowed to express herself, then Giant says, Oh is that all she gets? Free expression? As if free expression is not enough. This is the first fallacy -- YAF thinks that free speech is not just expressing your views, rather, it's that everyone agrees with them. The second fallacy is similar. Blackwell gets to associate with YAF. APU does not limit HER association with YAF. But that's not enough for them. It's not free association until APU and every other university has an association with YAF as well.
      Posted by Karen on 10/16/2012
    • If you read the article below, you'll see APU is defending Blackwell. Blackwell seems to want to be anonymous, but YAF keeps posting articles about her trying to make her out to be the victim. She is only a victim of YAF's tactics. http://www.theclause.org/2012/10/apu-says-no-to-ycc-name-change/
      Posted by on 10/19/2012
    • Where were all these defenders of free speech and personal liberty when LGBT students attempted to form a student group on APU's campus and were rejected. The same people who say that APU is oppressing students, would be outraged if the so-called "homosexual activists" wanted to exercise their constitutional rights to speech and assembly. In typical fashion, you have created a world of false oppression where not getting what you want is oppression, but the same action towards others is just, moral, and within the purview of a private institution. As a recent graduate and alumnus, lets also clarify a few thing. First, Resident Advisors are not APU employees and therefore cannot be official representatives of the university. They are student leaders who reflect the diversity of opinions on APU's campus. Ms. Blackwell's RA tends to disagree with her, which as many of you have pointed out, is also her RA's "God-given right". Second, APU has not banned speech. In fact, APU has not banned anything. APU's administration has decided that it is not in the best interest of the student body or the institution to associate the university (and may I add, provide funding to) a club that is so overtly hostile to open dialogue and entirely partisan. As a private, religious institution it is their right to do so. The whole point of the progressive and conservative clubs at APU is not "endorse" one viewpoint but to offer students opportunities for students to gather with like-mided individuals for healthy discourse. Additionally, let it known that APU is not an unsafe place for conservative students. APU is a relatively conservative school, with a large majority of professors sharing the conservative religious principles often emphasized by the institution, along with a politically conservative perspective. It is in no way an oppressive environment for conservative students or ideas. Finally, please provide Biblical evidence to back up there is a "a God-given right to establish clubs in schools."
      Posted by Matt Atha on 10/20/2012
    • It also seems that if you really read carefully the original press release, you will see that the problem was with the unfairness of not being able to chapter with YAF. Regardless of this being a private university, is it now wrong to question authority? Just so you know, I am the the student in the article. My experiences may have been "petty" compared to other universities, but they were still experiences that I thought were out of the "normal" on a Christian campus. But, that's not what this was about. YAF is a solid conservative leadership organization that offers students wonderful experiences and positive support. The language on the website is for "all" campuses, not just Christian campuses. If we can still use the materials from YAF, then why not be an official chapter? That was what I was questioning. I never referred to any professor, or department when speaking of my encounters. There are many students that experience what I have at the student and some at the professor level, but are so reluctant to speak up because of the attacks such as these and for fear of their grades being effected. For the record, no one from the university has tried to contact me, not one pastor, counselor, or administrator. There has been a professor that has now agreed to be our club advisor, but we have had limited conversations about what activities the club can do. College students all over want to be taught "how to think" not "what to think". I was exercising my freedom to do that. Thank you YAF and Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute for encouraging that freedom.
      Posted by ashley on 10/22/2012
    • If APU offers a course in "Politics and Mass Media" or something akin to it; I would be curious to see the class description. If it is indeed the school's mission to train students to leave academia equipped to engage and succeed professionally in the "real world" - then they should see Ms. Blackwell as a shining example of a job well done. The media exposure exacted at least some response .... as opposed to expecting the denied request for affiliation to be accepted quietly. Maybe this "quiet" student, who sits silently in the classroom, as someone earlier observed, will be the one who actually becomes a leader, and not just another "YES" person afraid to incur criticism or mockery. If she were one of my students, I would not be afraid to boast about it. Well done, Ashley, you get an A. You understand that when you pick a fight in the public arena, you better be ready to stand, and hopefully stand next to a guy with a bigger microphone than the one you have challenged!
      Posted by Mia Stahmp on 10/23/2012
    • Ashley, I think you are finally getting closer to understanding why you were denied. It has to do with how to think, and not what to think. APU had a problem with YAF telling all students what to think -- that every university is extremely liberal and that all professors are Islamo-fascists. As you said, YAF is saying that about ALL campuses. It's a ridiculous accusation without evidence that all 4000 institutions of higher education in the US are like that. That's not free thinking, or advice on how to think. That's a preconceived narrative. YAF wants you to see everything through a preconceived narrative. If you could provide proof of Islamo-fascism at APU, that would impress academics. But APU is not interested in associating with people who have preconceived narratives because that does not align with their spiritual or intellectual values. Why don't you address the freedom of religion issue involved here? Does YAF not allow that kind of free thinking?
      Posted by Fox on 10/24/2012
    • To Whom It May Concern: As an endorsement of YAF's leadership in this case, College Tea Party Patriots will also warn students considering attending APU that they will be treated differently because of their beliefs. I sincerely hate to do this, and would happily reverse this position if APU reverses theirs. Kind Regards, Danny Oliver Tea Party Students
      Posted by Danny Oliver on 10/31/2012
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