Students for Liberty
|Type||501(c)(3) public charity|
|Tax ID No.||943435899|
|Founded||July 24, 2008|
|Founder(s)||Alexander McCobin, Sloane Frost, Richard Tracy, Sam Eckman, and Pin-Quan Ng |
|Key people||Executive Director Alexander McCobin, Vice President Clark Ruper|
|Focus(es)||Civil society, civic engagement and social entrepreneurship|
|Method(s)||Education and leadership programs|
Students For Liberty (SFL) is an international libertarian non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to provide a unified, student-driven forum of support for students and student organizations dedicated to liberty." Formed after a meeting where students exchanged ideas from their own experiences with liberty advocating student groups, SFL quickly expanded with new programs and an exponentially growing network of affiliated student groups. Gene Healy with the Cato Institute includes the organization in the limited-government movement.
The organization hosts an annual international conference as well as various regional conferences. As of 2012, the SFL network 699 student organizations around the world. SFL's expansion is encouraged and supported by current students involved in the Campus Coordinators program.
SFL seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of liberty and civil society with programs that focus on student rights events, lectures, literature, an academic journal for student work, and an alumni network.
- 1 History
- 2 Programs
- 3 Organizational structure
- 4 Finance
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Students participating in an Institute for Humane Studies Koch Summer Fellowship got together on July 24, 2007 to discuss successes and challenges faced by libertarian student organizations. In 2008, Alexander McCobin and Sloane Frost decided to organize a conference for 40 students who were involved in libertarian student organizations. As more students contacted the planners to participate, more students joined the planning. The first Students for Liberty conference was held at Columbia University from February 22 to 24, 2008, with 100 students participants. The perceived success of the conference encouraged the planners to form Students For Liberty to provide continuing support to student groups.
In the news
SFL co-founder and executive director Alexander McCobin opened his remarks on the February 19, 2010 panel “2 Minute Activist: Saving Freedom Across America” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by thanking the American Conservative Union for welcoming GOProud as a co-sponsor of the event. Ryan Sorba, California Young Americans for Freedom's chairman and author of The "Born Gay" Hoax, followed with harsh words for McCobin, SFL, Young Americans for Liberty’s Jeff Frazee, and the American Conservative Union.
SFL hosts an annual international conference. The inaugural international conference brought 100 students from 42 schools in three countries to New York City. The second annual international conference brought 153 students from 13 countries to George Washington University. The third annual international conference took place February 13 and 14 at American University in Washington, DC and had more than 300 students in attendance. The fourth annual international conference, covered by ReasonTV, returned to George Washington University on Friday, February 18 and continued until Sunday, February 20, 2011, this time with 500 students participating. This international conference included a taping of Stossel, which aired March 31, in which John Stossel and Cato Institute Vice President David Boaz spoke to students about the ideas of liberty.
During the fall semester, SFL hosts regional conferences on campuses across the country. In 2008, SFL ran three regional conferences at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan. In 2009, SFL held seven regional conferences. They were hosted by libertarian student groups at Drexel University, Harvard University, Arizona State University, University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, University of Chicago, and Columbia University. In 2010, SFL held nine regional conferences at the same schools (except Wake Forest) as the 2009 conferences (listed above), while adding three new schools: Pepperdine University, Kennesaw State University and University of California at Berkeley. On November 18 to 20, 2011, SFL hosted the first European conference at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium with over 200 students from 25 different countries attending.
Free Books Project
SFL, in association with the Foundation for Economic Education, provides libertarian student groups with select free books. Books available have included works by Frederic Bastiat, Henry Hazlitt, and Ludwig von Mises.
Journal of Liberty and Society
SFL publishes an annual academic peer-reviewed journal. The Prometheus Institute sponsors awards for the top paper and two honorable mentions based on clarity of thought, originality, intellectual skill, and connection of liberty to important social or theoretical issues as well as offers to all award recipients to join the Prometheus Institute staff for a semester.
Student Rights Week
To assist student groups in advocating for civil liberties, SFL distributes pocket Constitutions from Cato, copies of the Guide to Free Speech on Campus from the FIRE, and the movies 10 Rules for Dealing with Police, Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters, and Indoctrinate U. One Students Right Week project is the establishment of temporary “free speech walls” where community members are encouraged to express their opinions by writing comments that will be left in public for several days.
SFL hosts seminars that are delivered with web conferencing technology. Held weekly during the academic year since 2009, the topics tend to focus on career advice, economics, history, law, leadership, philosophy, public policy, public speaking, and statistics. Past guest speakers include Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University, Bob Ewing of the Institute for Justice, John Hasnas of Georgetown University, Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education, Jim Lark of the University of Virginia, Radley Balko of The Huffington Post, David Friedman of Santa Clara University, LGBTQ activist Zach Wahls, Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Peter Boettke, and Chris Coyne of George Mason University.
Campus Coordinator Program
Campus Coordinators work with campus group leaders within a designated regional area to form and support student groups and to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of programs. The 2010–2011 school year saw the inaugural year of the program. Training is provided by the full-time staff as well as executive board members. The 2011–2012 class of coordinators included 60 students from the United States, Canada and Venezuela.
Alumni For Liberty
Alumni For Liberty is a network of working professionals interested in supporting students and student organizations dedicated to libertarianism. The program is open to all adults interested in supporting the student movement, whether or not they were a member of a liberty oriented student group. The project provides ways to remain involved in supporting the student movement for liberty with monthly updates describing opportunities such as networking events, job openings, training sessions, leadership dinners, options for financial support of alma mater student groups, speaking to student groups, and mentoring of students interested in related careers.
SFL is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports student groups advocating libertarianism. SFL is run by sixteen full-time professionals at its headquarters in Washington, DC. Direction of the organization comes from the executive director, the board of directors, and the executive board.
Alexander McCobin serves as executive director. McCobin, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, is currently a graduate student in Georgetown University's Department of Philosophy. In 2009, McCobin was sued by Perspectives Debate Inc., a nonprofit organization he had founded while a student at the University of Pennsylvania, for allegedly breaching his fiduciary duty by misappropriating funds and allegedly withdrawing more than $37,000 from the organization's bank account.
In 2011, SFL established a board to expand their programs into Europe. On November 18–20, 2011 SFL hosted the first European conference at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium. A second conference on the same location on March 8–10, 2013 has been announced.
Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, SFL continues to seek and accept only private donations from individuals, foundations, and participation fees. During its first year, SFL raised fifty thousand dollars in revenue. The organization's revenue grew, realizing almost a quarter of a million dollars in the second year, then over one-half million dollars in the third year. Expenses ran 65% of revenue in the first year, 75% of revenue in the second year, and 80% of revenue in the third year.
- Internal Revenue Service (2012). Exempt Organizations Select Check (Report). Washington, DC: Internal Revenue Service. http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/pub78Search.do;jsessionid=3EfG9EszQMVoiQyXYm6Cfw__?ein1=94-3435899&names=&city=&state=All...&country=US&deductibility=all&dispatchMethod=searchCharities&submitName=Search.
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- About ESFL | Students For Liberty
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- Students For Liberty, "2010–2011 Annual Report", , Washington, DC, July 20, 2011
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