In Worst Year for Free Speech on Campus, YAF Thrived:
2016 Young Americans for Freedom Chapters of the Year Announced, Awarded $20,000

RESTON, VA- Young America’s Foundation is excited to announce California State University-Los Angeles Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and Unity Christian High School Young Americans for Freedom as the 2016 College and High School Chapters of the Year. To recognize these and other chapters selected as runners-up, the Foundation is awarding grants totaling over $20,000.

After leftist protests erupted on campuses earlier this year, conservative activism surged, and YAF chapters lead the movement in standing up for free speech rights. Tensions came to a head when hundreds of protesters, including professors, attempted to block YAF students from attending their own lecture with Ben Shapiro at CSULA.

Despite their university president attempting to cancel the lecture and hundreds of leftists forming a human chain outside the lecture hall, CSULA YAF members remained determined to have their conservative voices heard. Remarkably, the chapter was able to fill the auditorium by smuggling students in three at a time via police escort through a back door. National media, including Fox News’ The Kelly File, featured the event, which also caught the attention of Senator Marco Rubio.

CSULA YAF grew from six members to thirty-three members the day after the event. Chapter chair Mark Kahanding noted, “We received several messages from students who were so excited to join us, who were so excited that someone was taking a stand against the liberals on campus. We plan on bombarding the campus with non-stop speakers and getting the word about conservatism.”

The chapter is set to receive $10,000 as a reward for their bold activism.

In addition to CSULA YAF’s efforts, YAF chapters across the country earned an unprecedented number of victories at their schools this year, proving that YAF students are the leading conservative activists at our nation’s colleges and universities.

Where other student groups may set up tables and pass out literature, YAF chapters go beyond the basics and promote conservatism in major ways. In the 2015-2016 school year alone, thousands of students attended lectures hosted by YAF chapters and thousands of students participated in activism events hosted by YAF chapters. Key events include:

  • YAF at the University of Michigan, a runner up, hosted a debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Bill Ayers that drew hundreds of attendees, thousands of online viewers, and the attention of the national media.
  • Gettysburg YAF endured bitter backlash from campus leftists who went so far as to perform slam poetry about the chapter, and stood strong for conservatism when the footage went viral. They even inspired their school to consider reforms to its free speech policies.
  • Virginia Tech YAF made national news for its innovative approach to substantive activism, responding to a university initiative on cultural appropriation by hosting a Funeral for Halloween and capturing viral attention.

Young America’s Foundation is ready to supply YAF chapters at high schools and colleges and universities around the country with the tools necessary to defeat the Left. We’re honored to award these bold young activists with more than $20,000 to strengthen their efforts this fall and beyond.

2016 Chapter of the Year runners-up were YAF at the University of Michigan and YAF at the University of Wisconsin. Both chapters will be awarded $5,000 each as a reward for their activism.

For more information, or to cover this story, please call Emily Jashinsky at (800) USA-1776.