University sued over policy that conveniently punished conservative student group

University sued over policy that conveniently punished conservative student group

University sued over policy that conveniently punished conservative student group

A conservative college student group is suing to stop a university policy that conveniently bans national organizations from being recognized by the school after a prominent conservative spoke on campus.

Represented by attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom, Young Americans for Freedom filed a federal lawsuit last week against the University at Buffalo. One of the defendants is the UB Student Association, which revised a school policy recognizing national chapters just two weeks after Daily Wire writer Michael Knowles spoke on campus.

The Spectrum, the student newspaper at UB, reported in an April story three other student groups are also protesting the policy: Amnesty International, Circle K, and Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

Young Americans for Freedom is a chapter of Young America’s Foundation, which dates back to the 1970s and claims to have 250-plus chapters on high school and college campuses.

On the campus of University at Buffalo, Young Americans for Freedom has operated as a registered student organization since 2017. It currently holds weekly meetings and has 100-plus members. Being “derecognized” by UB means the club cannot receive a budget from student fees nor reserve campus space for meetings and events, according to ADF.

ADF attorney Caleb Dalton tells AFN he is seeking a preliminary injunction, which is usually a quick and temporary ruling, from the federal court.

“So that Young Americans for Freedom can operate just like all the other clubs on campus,” he says, “when the fall semester starts up.”

In March, when it was learned Knowles was speaking on the University at Buffalo campus, the university released a statement that blamed Young Americans for Freedom. The statement also defended a speaker’s First Amendment-protected right to free speech, even if the content of a speech is “hurtful or demeaning.”

Dalton, Caleb (ADF) Dalton

“Please know that our commitment to transgender inclusion is stronger than one speaker and one event,” the University’s diversity director said at the time.

Knowles spoke on the UB campus March 9. The student associated revised its policy March 27.

“We all know why we’re doing this,” Becky Paul-Odionhin, the student association president, openly stated before the student association vote, according to the Spectrum story.  

Dalton, the ADF attorney, says a university is supposed to support debate and differing beliefs. 

"Instead," he warns, "universities are turning themselves into an intellectual vacuum of intolerance."