Santa Clara University’s Student Government Association rejected conservative group Young Americans for Freedom’s (YAF) application to become an on-campus student organization.
The SGA rejected YAF for having “the potential to be harmful” to the student body of Santa Clara University and would potentially make students question their safety.
At the same time, this rejection can be viewed as harmful for the students who are already interested. They will not be allowed to join YAF due to the potential conflict.
Why was YAF really denied?
Santa Clara University is home to only two other Conservative clubs: Turning Point USA and College Republicans. The Young Americans for Freedom’s proposal was denied because the SGA said one more conservative group on campus could be viewed as non-inclusive, as there would be three now.
YAF argued that their goal is to not only appeal to Conservative students but the general student body as a whole. An example of this outreach is when YAF had featured Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar in its presentation, “to appeal to left-leaning students, with no correlation to the overall conservative ideologies expressed by YAF.”
As another bash to YAF and conservatism as a whole, the SGA found conservative clubs as a threat to the population.
Student Senator Sahil Sagar, in meeting minutes, said, “In regards to legal immigration, we do have plenty of students on our [campus] who are undocumented and may see your club as a threat because of your stance on legal immigration.”
Despite this accusation, in a study from the Pew Research Center, “A majority of Republicans (56%) support a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.”
Some Senators were not so quick to disapprove of the Conservative group such as At-large Senator for Jesuit Values Jim O’Brien who states that those who voted against the application should be considered violators of the freedom of speech.
Additionally, At-large Senator for Health and Wellness, Nina Molanphy, who voted to approve the group, told Campus Reform that YAF is “unique to any other RSO, including TPUSA, and they do not pose an immediate threat to our community.”
She also believes “if this RSO helps the wellbeing of even just one student to feel more included and increase their sense of belonging,” that should be enough to approve the RSO.
What will happen to other conservative groups on campus?
Young Americans for Freedom appealed the rejection to the student court and this happened: The Student Court voted 4 to 1 in favor of overturning the student government’s rejection, a decision which, however, did not grant YAF RSO status.
The Student Court firmly believes that Turning Point USA and YAF are fundamentally different organizations, and, while they take similar stances on a few issues, one should not be allowed while the other is not.
The Conservative student body is concerned for the other two Conservative organizations on campus. Since one organization can be eradicated with a simple 16 Senator “supermajority”, it is possible that the other two may be at risk.
Is Santa Clara University violating the First Amendment by subliminally hyper-valuing inclusivity over the freedom of expression under the freedom of speech? Many Senators and members of the student body believe that is exactly what is happening.