For their continued initiative, courage, and ingenuity in designing programing that effectively targets a prominent issue on their campus, University of Wisconsin–Madison Young Americans for Freedom (UWM YAF) has been named chapter of the month for November.
During the fall semester, the YAF chapter at the University of Wisconsin–Madison became concerned about their fellow students’ reaction toward a free speech policy that the university’s Board of Regents had enacted. This was a result of UWM YAF’s 2016 lecture with Ben Shapiro, where students attempted a heckler’s veto to prevent the audience from hearing the speaker. Leftist students began attacking the school, claiming that their free-speech rights were being taken away. The new policy was enacted in an effort to protect the student organizations and their ability to host speakers of different viewpoints.
Rather than let this opposition escalate, UWM YAF saw this as a prime opportunity to educate their peers on free speech and how it leads to a diverse education. To do this, the chapter organized a public panel made up of members from various clubs, including UWM YAF, ranging from socialist to conservative, and a moderator who was a free-speech professor. The chapter also invited campus news outlets and other student organizations and pushed the other clubs participating to recruit people to hear this exchange of ideas.
The panel drew a packed crowed of students, professors, administrators, and media. After its conclusion, all of the panelists – even those on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum – agreed that freedom of speech is necessary for a diverse and just society. The YAF chapter was met with resounding applause and praise for hosting the event and was encouraged to do more activities like this.
This event was evidence of the chapter’s continued bravery in spite of leftist protests directed at the organization. Just last month, the chapter’s lecture with Katie Pavlich was met with opposition form the obscene campus group, “Cocks not Glocks.” For most, this protest would be enough to silence their views; however, Young Americans for Freedom chapters are known for their persistence and dedication to advancing the Conservative Movement and UWM YAF is no exception.
There were neither protests nor firebrand names that lead to the event’s wide success – just a group of student leaders who were diligent enough to identify an issue that was truly important to their peers and willing to put in the work necessary to achieve success.
University of Wisconsin–Madison Young Americans for Freedom was able to target a growing threat to free speech at their school, and then developed a bold action plan to address the issue and share the conservative perspective. This provided other students with the arguments necessary to support the freedom of speech and increased the chapter’s profile on campus. For this reason, we congratulate UMW YAF on being selected as November’s Chapter of the Month.
The University of Madison–Wisconsin Young Americans for Freedom is led by Chairman Abbigail Streu, Vice Chairman Jeremiah Sweeting, Secretary Jordan Lehmann, Treasurer Michelle Walker, Social Event Chair Andrew Chen, Activism Chair Elliott Jang, Outreach and Media Chair Ryan Christians, and Speaking Events Chair Micky Singh.