Authored By Emily Jashinsky
November 29, 2016
Samford Blocks YAF Chapter for ‘Inflammatory’ Sharon Statement
Officials at Samford University in Alabama rejected a group of conservative students’ efforts to start a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter because the Sharon Statement, YAF’s founding document, contains “inflammatory” language towards the school’s communist club.
Upon further investigation, the conservative students discovered the school does not even appear to have a communist student organization.
The decision to reject the students came after the would-be chapter presented at a faculty senate meeting. Student organizer Karalee Geis relayed her experience to Young America’s Foundation:
After more questioning by liberal professors for about 20-25 minutes, we were asked to leave the room. We waited for approximately 30 minutes as the faculty senate discussed YAF. Two members of the faculty senate finally came into the room that our executive board and advisor were waiting in and told us that the vote was to deny us the ability to become a student organization. They said if we made some constitutional changes we could be reconsidered next semester but would have to begin the entire process from the start again. We did not budge on changing the constitution because it is literally from the founding document of YAF. They said that we were not being kind to those who had a communist background…
In an email obtained by Young America’s Foundation, a Samford official told Geis, “We are looking for the YAF student group to amend or justify the inflammatory language listed in their Purpose. This is the direct statement from the Sharon Statement that, though likely appropriate in 1960, does not hold the same in 2016.”
The Sharon Statement, adopted in 1960 at the home of William F. Buckley Jr., has been referred to as the “seminal document” of the Conservative Movement by The New York Times. Its historical significance as the founding document of Young Americans for Freedom, an organization that played a major role in the Reagan Revolution, is widely recognized.
It’s interesting that Samford University, a Christian school, is concerned about protecting its alleged communist club when communist philosophy would traditionally eliminate their religion from society.
Young America’s Foundation is working with these bold student organizers to ensure their campus community has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a Young Americans for Freedom chapter.