While the media focuses on socialism’s alleged surge on campuses, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) activists’ revitalized vigor is alarming liberals at schools across the country, inspiring professors and administrators to engage in unprecedented censorship efforts. YAF’s renaissance is the product of a multi-year process following its historic merger with Young America’s Foundation, five years ago on May 17, 2011.

“Conservatism is alive in the hearts and minds of young Americans.”

At a time when the Conservative Movement is historically fractured and many Americans believe young people are overwhelmingly infatuated with socialism, Young Americans for Freedom students are carrying the torch passed onto them by leaders, including YAF founder William F. Buckley and Honorary National Chairman Ronald Reagan. While older generations are busy questioning the essence of American conservatism, the next generation is hard at work promoting the values their predecessors fought courageously to preserve. Conservatism is not dead—in fact, YAF’s renaissance signals that it’s more alive than ever in young Americans.

Similarly, the tradition of intellectual conservatism championed by Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan, and others is gaining popularity, especially among young people increasingly interested in affecting change through ideological methods rather than political ones.

Since the 2011 merger, YAF chapters have earned a number of major victories for conservatism, many involving professors and administrators attempting to censor conservative student activism. In honor of the merger anniversary, Young America’s Foundation has listed the top five YAF victories of the past five years:

#5 DePaul YAF Wins Battle Against Vandals of its Pro Life Display, 2013

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DePaul University punished a YAF chair for publicizing the names of 14 vandals who tore down and trashed the YAF chapter’s pro-life display on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. After YAF exposed this discrimination in the media, administrators at DePaul eventually apologized to the YAF activist and dropped charges.

#4 Grosse Pointe South YAF Hosts Senator Rick Santorum Despite Protests From Administrators, 2013

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Grosse Pointe YAF organized a lecture featuring Senator Rick Santorum but the school district canceled the school-wide assembly, citing the Senator’s “divisive” views on traditional marriage. Grosse Pointe YAF fought back and hundreds of students attended the lecture— one of the largest of the school year. 

#3 Virginia Tech YAF Stripped of Funding for Immigration Event, Wins it Back, 2014

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Virginia Tech YAF’s funding was cut because the chapter hosted an event on illegal immigration featuring Bay Buchanan, but funding was reinstated after people around the country demanded the school respect the First Amendment rights of the students.

#2 Michigan YAF Reinstates American Sniper Screening After School Canceled it for “Islamophobia,” 2015

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When the University of Michigan canceled a scheduled screening of American Sniper due to alleged “Islamophobia,” UMich YAF boldly lead the charge in support of the film, successfully lobbying the university to reverse its decision and show the movie. 

#1 CSULA YAF Ignores Cancellation of Shapiro Lecture, Incites Violent Protests, Holds Event Anyway, 2016

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After the California State University Los Angeles university president attempted to cancel Ben Shapiro’s lecture organized by CSULA YAF, the chapter went ahead with the event anyway, having to be escorted by police into the room through mobs of violent protestors. The event has since attracted more than 500,000 online viewers.

Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson remarked, “These recent victories won by Young Americans for Freedom activists are important for our organization and also for the strength of the Conservative Movement. The 1960s were famously abloom with student activism, and Young Americans for Freedom accounted for a major part of the surge. It says a great deal about the Conservative Movement that students today have channeled this energy. Conservatism is alive in the hearts and minds of young Americans. Older generations have much to be optimistic about.”

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