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  • Attacks on UVA YAF Backfire

    9/25/2013 4:24:59 PM Posted by Kate Cortes

    By: Ryan Bartels

    dgbvbOn September 23rd, the Cavalier Daily, the student publication on Grounds, published an article entitled "The virtues of not protesting." Written by the official Cavalier Daily leadership, the opinion piece ostensibly bemoaned and attempted to rationalize the lack of protesters at the Rick Santorum speech hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at UVa last week. The Managing Board could not resist exercising its near unlimited power by making bold and malicious accusations against YAF.

    As a proponent of free speech, I have no problem with the fact that the Cavalier Daily and its overwhelming number of left-wing writers and editors personally disagree with the beliefs of their ideological adversaries on Grounds and express these sentiments in their opinion section. However, the Managing Board of the Cavalier Daily has developed a tendency to use its editorial page as a progressive pulpit from which to launch anonymous and libelous pot shots at non-progressive individuals and organizations at UVa, which in turn has prompted me to respond on behalf of YAF.

    Young Americans for Freedom at UVa was only established last semester. Lucky for us, we escaped the same ideological bias at Student Council that initially denied the Burke Society CIO status. During our few months of existence, we have worked tirelessly to establish ourselves as a thriving CIO on Grounds by holding weekly meetings, distributing patriotic paraphernalia, writing articles for The Virginia Advocate, and hosting events like our September 11th remembrance and the Rick Santorum program. We will be hosting author and  former chair of the Virginia GOP, Kate Obenshain, on November 7th.

    Yet, if you listen to the students who run the CavDaily, "Since hosting its first interest meeting in April, YAF has spent most of its time on Facebook, where it posts racially objectionable cartoons and, in McCarthyesque fashion, identifies supposed Communists in Congress." Rather than composing themselves to at least feign civility and neutrality, the CavDaily decided it was best to let their ideological bias shout from the rooftops and resonate throughout these Grounds, cherry picking out of context YAF Facebook posts from last summer out of hundreds of others to describe how we have "spent most of [our] time."

    As Chief Editor of the YAF chapter at UVa, I encourage you to skim through the top comments of the truly astounding editorial. The readers speak for themselves:

    1. Nick: "I do not know why you would say this except to demean YAF. Pointless jabs are not suitable for an informed discussion."
    2. Mark: "This is a terrible excuse for an article. The 'Managing Board' should be ashamed of this article and others which consistently misrepresent and unfairly attack conservative minded students. The Cav Daily will continue on its streak of irrelevance until it can restore itself as a balanced news source for UVa students of all backgrounds."
    3. patriotmom61: "This is the intolerance of the Left. Thank you, writer, for exposing the ignorant mindset that governs schools and universities across our fair land. Silly me, I thought higher education is supposed to expose students to varying worldviews as part of the educational experience."
    4. Rebecca: "Cav Daily's 'Managing Board' giving their extremely biased take? This article is absurd and completely unprofessional."
    5. Ron: ". . . I don't appreciate seeing the 'managing board' of Cavalier Daily publishing an opinion piece with so much liberal bias. As a student-run newspaper, the board should stay neutral on political issues/events and let the students submit op-eds . . ."


     The authors of "The virtues of not protesting" so greatly misrepresented Mr. Santorum's talk that I do not find it possible that their sources even attended the speech. Santorum's speech was almost exclusively dedicated to a robust system of equal opportunity, not only in socioeconomics, but also in education. After his speech, Mr. Santorum devoted a significant amount of time to answering questions from students of all ideologies, on issues ranging from the living wage to gay marriage. By hosting Santorum, the students involved in the UVa YAF chapter are the true believers in education and the free exchange of ideas on campus, and I encourage the CavDaily's Managing Board to participate in the dialogue we're presenting.

    Ryan Bartels is a student at the University of Virginia and chief editor of UVA Young Americans for Freedom. 

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