The Student Association (SA) at the University at Buffalo is attempting to evade its responsibility to uphold conservative students’ constitutional rights to free speech and expression by shutting down their Young Americans for Freedom chapter using flimsy loopholes and excuses.
The move, which appears to be a deliberate attempt to silence effective advocates of viewpoints the SA opposes and stifle students’ right to freedom of association, comes on the heels of last month’s YAF lecture featuring conservative commentator Michael Knowles. The speech drew more than 600 interested students and roughly 400 leftist protestors.
The resolution, which was introduced at the first senate meeting held after the Knowles event by sophomore Sammi Pang, states that “no SA club may be a chapter of or otherwise part of any outside organization.”
Although a small handful of other student organizations will also be impacted by the resolution, Pang strategically included multiple exemptions in her resolution that limit the collateral damage, allowing dozens of nationally-affiliated groups to retain official recognition and funding.
Without access to resources, funding, and facilities, the soon-to-be unrecognized YAF chapter will no longer be able to host impactful speaker events, meetings, or activism projects.
The UB YAF chapter, which has roughly one month before the resolution goes into effect, refuses to go down without a fight. “I am appalled that the chapter that my predecessors and I have spent so much time building up and maintaining is continuing to face so much trouble at the hands of the student government,” Chairman Connor Ogrydziak said in a statement shared with the New Guard.
Neither SA President Becky Paul Odionhin nor Pang responded to the New Guard’s request for comment. The UB Student Association, which wields a significant amount of power over the public university and its funds, has repeatedly claimed that its incorporation status as a 501(c)3 organization exempts its records from being subject to public examination and from a duty to abide by the Constitution of the United States.
Young America’s Foundation is currently exploring options for legal recourse.