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Young America’s Foundation is pleased to announce another victory for free speech.  

Students at the University of Virginia (UVA) made national headlines last week after administrators refused to officially recognize their Young Americans for Freedom chapter.

Following multiple media reports and concerned statements by 67th Governor of Virginia George Allen, Fox News’s Brit Hume, and others, counsel for UVA informed YAF that the Young Americans for Freedom chapter would be recognized and would be reevaluating its policy to ensure compliance with state law and the First Amendment.

The decision comes after Young America’s Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter to counsel for UVA, demanding official recognition for the Young Americans for Freedom chapter and revisions to school policy.

Young Americans for Freedom is the chapter affiliate of Young America’s Foundation, the educational organization the New York Times recently called “The Conservative Force” on campuses.

Students on campuses across the country have been introduced to conservative ideas by YAF since 1960, when William F. Buckley, along with 100 conservative students, founded Young Americans for Freedom on a set of principles known as the Sharon Statement. The New York Times called the Sharon Statement the “seminal document” of the Conservative Movement.

Students at UVA were excited to establish a Young Americans for Freedom chapter at UVA several years ago. The chapter hosted successful events with Senator Rick Santorum and Kate Obenshain. This semester, students sought to renew the chapter’s recognition. When they submitted their paperwork, they included a requirement that members agree with the Sharon Statement. In so doing, they took the same precautions other leaders take to maintain the purpose of groups they run: they sought to limit membership and leadership opportunities to those who share the group’s beliefs. At UVA and many other schools, this is a common practice. The UVA Virginia Atheists and Agnostics limit membership to those who “promote a hostility-free atmosphere.” The UVA Queer Student Union denies membership to those who are “actively against the goals and purpose” of the group.

Lovers of freedom and the First Amendment are pleased to learn conservative students at UVA will no longer be discriminated against.

“In the wake of public outcry over the University of Virginia’s unconstitutional and illegal policy which censored conservatives, UVA has made the right choice in complying with the demand letter sent last week,” said YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown. “We look forward to UVA-YAF continuing its bold advancement of conservative ideas.”

“Young America’s Foundation stood strong for the freedom of the UVA Young Americans for Freedom chapter. Mr. Jefferson would be pleased that reason and freedom have ultimately prevailed at the University of Virginia and some liberty-loving Wahoos can join the intrepid YAF chapter,” said George Allen, a UVA alumnus and Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar.

“As an alumnus of Mr. Jefferson’s University, I am very pleased to see that UVA has worked quickly to protect the right of all students to associate around their shared beliefs,” said Casey Mattox, Senior Counsel and director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “I look forward with confidence to the administration’s changes that will ensure neither YAF nor any other students face a similar problem in the future.”

Young America’s Foundation works with students to advance freedom on more than 2,000 campuses nationwide—Young Americans for Freedom is the chapter affiliate of Young America’s Foundation, with more than 400 active chapters.


For further information or to cover this story contact Spencer Brown via phone (800-872-1776) or email (sbrown@yaf.org).

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