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Ashley BlackwellBy Ashley Blackwell 

Administrators at Azusa Pacific University (APU) don’t want you
to learn the truth about their school. 

I am an active student on campus working to promote the ideas of
individual freedom, free enterprise, limited government, and
traditional values.  During my time, I have attended a number
of Young America’s Foundation’s programs held in Washington, D.C.,
and at the Reagan Ranch. Our conservative club has previously
organized many Foundation activities on campus. One activity that
we undertook was organizing the 9/11: Never Forget Project which we found
necessary to organize because APU did not formally commemorate the

This past spring, I became the chair of APU’s conservative club
on campus.  Just a few weeks into this current semester, I
discovered that our required faculty advisor will be leaving the
school, and I would need to find someone else to take over this
role. Until we had an advisor we could not meet and hold any formal
activities on campus. Essentially, I was starting from scratch.

As I had a close association with Young America’s Foundation, I
assumed starting a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, which
is a project of the Foundation, would be easy.

I was wrong.  During a meeting with the executive director
of “Communiversity” Chuck Strawn, I was told he and other
administrators had problems with some language on YAF’s national
website, and he would not approve my request. I found the school’s
decisions to be completely puzzling considering YAF was founded in
part by William F. Buckley who was deeply religious, there are YAF
chapters at other religious schools, and YAF’s activities have been
warmly received at APU.

In the school’s official response to
YAF’s press release, the school encouraged my group to “keep its
membership open to all conservative students.” YAF chapters do
welcome all conservative students, so that is not a valid reason to
ban a YAF chapter from campus. They also cite that “YAF uses
divisive language and embraces some forms of political activism
that do not align with who we are as a university.”

Their argument that YAF uses “divisive” language immediately
showcases a hypocrisy from our school’s leaders. APU’s website
states that APU wants to “create an environment where differences
of perspective are sought and respected for the enrichment of the
entire community.” However, the school cannot seek an atmosphere
where differences in perspective are sought while at the same time
censoring other views. YAF chapters hold the same non-profit tax status as
APU, so none of our activities are “political” nor do we engage in
“political activism.” 

Finally, I was told that we could continue using YAF’s
materials and literature, but we couldn’t use the name. 
Students who see us distributing YAF’s literature could still
encounter and read the “divisive” language the school complains
about through the items we distribute on campus.

Having visited President Reagan’s Ranch near Santa Barbara, I am
inspired by the words he wrote: “Remember your very title: you are
Young Americans for Freedom. That is your mission above all others.
You are most important in this particular moment of history,
because so many of your peers have listened to false prophets and

Despite the needless roadblocks thrown up by school officials, I
will keep advocating for YAF to be recognized at APU.

Ashley Blackwell is a YAF activist and a current student at
Azusa Pacific University



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