Mike Adams
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Fortunately, FIRE wrote USF President Judy Genshaft in October in order to explain (slowly) that YAF and Young Americans for Liberty are indeed different in terms of their ideology and stated goals. FIRE also explained that USF's policy is unconstitutional. Specifically, the policy gives administrators too much discretion to reject new student organizations. Such discretion fails the Supreme Court's 40-year old requirement that government representatives use "narrow, objective, and definite standards" when subjecting First Amendment rights to a permit system. See Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham (1969).

The good news is that USF Dean of Students Kevin Banks has responded to FIRE. And he has provisionally recognized YAF pending approval of the group's constitution. The bad news is that USF has yet to revise its unconstitutional policy of preventing groups "with the same purpose/goals" from obtaining recognition.

FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel observed that, after the College Republicans, YAF is the largest and oldest conservative student organization in the United States. Given that fact, it seems a stretch to imagine that USF administrators really are ignorant and/or confused about how YAF differs from Young Americans for Liberty, which is only a couple of years old. After all, the folks who approve different student organizations should know something about how student organizations differ.

Maybe the great minds roaming the administrative halls of USF really failed to grasp the difference between these two groups. Maybe they still fail to grasp the larger differences between conservatives and libertarians. It is more likely, however, that USF administrators knew the groups were different from each other – and, more importantly, different from the administration. And because neither is liberal their collective campus influence had to be minimized.

The sad thing about all of this is that these administrators usually call themselves liberals. There used to be a difference between liberals and totalitarians. To be honest, I can’t tell the difference anymore.

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Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.