Young Americans for Liberty

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Young Americans for Liberty
Young Americans for Liberty sign (48719332012).jpg
AbbreviationYAL
Formation2008
TypeStudent Organization, 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4)
PurposePolitical Activism
Region served
United States
CEO
Lauren Daugherty
AffiliationsStudents for Ron Paul, Campaign for Liberty, Youth for Ron Paul, Students for Rand
Websitehttp://www.yaliberty.org

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is a libertarian, classical liberal and conservative[1] student activism organization headquartered in Austin, Texas. Formed in 2008 in the aftermath of the Ron Paul 2008 presidential campaign, YAL establishes chapters on high school and college campuses across the United States, for the purpose of "advancing liberty on campus and in American electoral politics."[2]

YAL is active on nearly 400 college and university campuses, representing thousands of students.[3][4]

History[edit]

YAL was founded in 2008 at the end of Congressman Ron Paul's first presidential campaign. Paul's candidacy inspired students to organize on-campus under the banner of Students for Ron Paul. After the 2008 presidential election in November, the movement continued, soon becoming Young Americans for Liberty.[5][6]

On May 23, 2019, YAL announced it would be moving its headquarters to Austin from Arlington, Virginia, saying that the group "doesn't belong" in Washington, D.C. due to its "toxic environment," and that it was a "rapidly growing organization" that needed more space in its headquarters.[7]

In January 2021, YAL removed its president, Cliff Maloney, for serious allegations of sexual misconduct towards YAL employees.[8]

In May 2021, Lauren Daugherty became YAL's new executive director.[9] Former Maine State Senator Eric Brakey assumed the role of senior spokesperson, while Sean Themea became YAL's chief of staff.[10][11][12][13]

Activities[edit]

YAL activists at the University of California, Los Angeles (2018)

In March 2011, 78 YAL chapters across 32 states organized a student protest of the national debt. Each chapter constructed a 40-foot debt clock and placed it in the middle of their campus.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

In April 2014, two YAL students at the University of Hawaii filed a federal lawsuit after they were prevented from handing out copies of the US constitution.[21]

Beginning in 2009, YAL hosted annual National Conventions in Arlington, Virginia. More than 300 students attended the 2014 convention.[22] Speakers included U.S Senator Rand Paul and former U.S. Representative Ron Paul, with a video address by Glenn Greenwald.[23][24] Speakers at the 2016 convention included speakers Ron Paul and U.S. Representative Justin Amash, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and David Boaz of the Cato Institute.[25]

In September 2016, three YAL students passed out pocket constitutions on a public walkway at Kellogg Community College (KCC) in Battle Creek, Michigan.[26] The students were approached by Drew Hutchinson, the school's Manager of Student Life, and told to shut down the event on grounds that it violated the school's "speech permit policy."[26] After refusing to do so, the students were arrested by campus police and jailed for over seven hours.[27]

YAL and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) subsequently filed suit.[28] Meanwhile, KCC's speech restrictions remained in place until August 2017, when the school was ordered to pay $55,000 in damages and attorney's fees.[26] Additionally, the school agreed to adopt a new Freedom of Expression policy, "[making] it clear that any individual or group can engage in non-commercial expressive activities, including speeches, demonstrations, vigils, and the distribution of informational materials, in common areas on the campus during periods that the College facilities are open to the general public."[26]

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, YAL has pushed back against government mandates that "[infringe] on civil liberties."[29] The organization's Hazlitt Coalition, a network of 178 legislators from 37 states, introduced dozens of bills opposing proof-of-vaccination requirements.[29] According to Themea, "The idea of having to carry around your health papers to go to the grocery store is something out of an Orwell novel."[29]

In May 2021, YAL helped organize a protest against the COVID-19 vaccine requirement at Rutgers University.[30] Organized by Rutgers junior and YAL state chair Sara Razi, the protest brought together hundreds of "medical freedom activists."[31][32] The Rutgers protest was covered by CNBC, Forbes, The Guardian, and other news outlets.[33][34][35] That same month, YAL and the ADF threatened legal action against Skidmore College after a YAL chapter was not approved on campus for political reasons.[36][37] Skidmore student Hannah Davis claimed to be the victim of a "cancel culture campaign", which led YAL and the ADF to accuse Skidmore of violating consumer protection law.[38][39]

In total, YAL has fought COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates on 23 college campuses, such as Rutgers, Virginia Tech University, and the University of Colorado Boulder.[40][41] YAL has circulated petitions opposing COVID-related rules on different campuses, such as Virginia Tech.[41] According to the YAL, the organization "is not anti-vaccine, but rather anti-vaccine mandate at taxpayer-funded academic institutions."[40] Several students affiliated with YAL have spoken to the mainstream media, arguing for vaccination as a "personal choice."[42][43]

YAL is an outspoken critic of gun-control legislation, such as "red flag" laws proposed by President Biden and other Democrats.[44][45] The organization also opposes "Critical Race Theory" education at public schools.[46] YAL is active on social media, often attacking Democratic Party officials.[47]

Controversies[edit]

In a Facebook post perceived by YAL chapter leaders as an official blacklisting of Breitbart News tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos in May 2016, YAL National Field Director Ty Hicks urged chapter leaders not to invite the conservative firebrand to speak at their events. This came as a result of the YAL chapter at the University of California, Santa Barbara defying a regional field director's instructions to prohibit Yiannopoulos from promoting presidential candidate Donald Trump when he spoke at the university – which she believed could jeopardize the national organization's 501(c)3 non-profit status. The event proceeded with Yiannopoulos asking audience members to address a cardboard cutout of Trump, and chapter members wearing pro-Trump clothing as they hand-carried Yiannopoulos into the event. YAL's president at the time, Cliff Maloney, said Hicks' post did not represent an official YAL position and that "our relationship with Milo remains unchanged."[48] The group's association with Yiannopoulos and others caused Wichita State University to reject the formation of a YAL chapter on campus.[49]

In February 2017 at Students for Liberty's International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) in Washington, D.C., several students affiliated with YAL chapters organized to bring white supremacist Richard Spencer to the hotel where the conference was being held. Spencer and the YAL chapter members were confronted by conference attendees and were removed from the conference.[50]

In 2018, the Iowa State YAL chapter invited controversial figure Nick Fuentes to speak at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.[51]

A few YAL members and chapter leaders have been involved in the American Identity Movement, formerly known as Identity Evropa. In June 2019, Right Wing Watch ran an article noting that university student Richard Golgart Jr. was an "officer" of the University of Nevada, Reno's YAL chapter.[52] An article later in the year by the school newspaper, The Nevada Sagebrush, confirmed the story.[53] An exposé by Sludge found that another Identity Evropa member, Derek Magill, served as president of the YAL chapter at the University of Michigan.[54] The same report also revealed that Alex Witoslawski, another well-known white nationalist activist, "spent six months as the Illinois state chair of Young Americans for Liberty."[54]

On January 8, 2021, several women came out with allegations of sexual misconduct while at YAL.[55][56][8] As a result of the allegations, YAL subsequently announced that Cliff Maloney had been terminated from employment within the organization effective immediately after a decision by the board of directors.[57] On April 26, 2022, Cliff Maloney was arrested and arraigned in Pennsylvania on charges of drugging and raping a woman on University of Pittsburgh Johnstown's campus in 2013.[58]

Operation Win at the Door[edit]

In 2018, YAL launched Operation Win at the Door.[59][60] Maloney claimed that the project's goal would be to "build the bench" by electing 250 state legislators by the end of 2022.[61]

YAL's "Hazlitt Coalition," a network of libertarian state legislators around the country, oversees more than 170 members in nearly 40 states. The coalition has filed 25 bills defending people's rights against COVID-19 protocols.[62][63]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Young Americans for Liberty – OrgSync[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "About – Young Americans for Liberty".
  3. ^ Dickler, Jessica (3 October 2021). "Facing Covid vaccine mandates, some students withdraw from college". CNBC. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  4. ^ Dickler, Jessica (21 July 2021). "Colleges and unvaccinated students are set for a standoff this fall". CNBC. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  5. ^ George Dance, "Ron Paul Helps Launch Young Americans for Liberty," Nolan Chart, 7 Dec. 2008, Web, 15 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Libertarians Protest War in Libya". Student Free Press. 23 March 2011. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  7. ^ "I have a big announcement for YAL". archive.fo. 23 May 2019. Archived from the original on 23 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b Phillips, Morgan (12 January 2021). "Young Americans for Liberty president on leave after sexual misconduct accusations". Fox News. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Meet Our New Publisher & CEO, Donna Bragg". Texas CEO Magazine. 11 June 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  10. ^ Jordan, Chuck (15 May 2021). "Congress won't end the wars, so states must". The Hill. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  11. ^ Ellis, Jaynie. "Skidmore College: Controversy Continues". saratogatodaynewspaper.com. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  12. ^ Isaac Willour (25 March 2021). "Pro-liberty students barred from forming club: 'cancel culture organized against us' at Skidmore". The College Fix. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Colorado gun control laws failed to stop Boulder supermarket shooting". The Washington Times. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  14. ^ "Campus group protests ballooning national debt". JConline. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Display to present U.S. national debt issue". Utah Statesman. 30 March 2011. Archived from the original on 1 April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  16. ^ "Master the balancing Act". Augusta Chronicle. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  17. ^ "UC San Diego students call for awareness of the national debt". KUSI News. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  18. ^ "Grace students join national debt protest". Journal Gazette. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  19. ^ "Congress doing little to slow debt, student group says". PolitiFact Georgia. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  20. ^ "National debt clock to be erected in Gautier". WLOX ABC News. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  21. ^ Reilly, Clarke (26 April 2014). "Hawaiian University Sued For Blocking Students From Passing Out Copies of the Constitution". Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  22. ^ "Rand Paul speaks to young libertarians". USA Today. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  23. ^ "Rand Paul: MSNBC has 'partisan cranks and hacks'". CNN. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Glenn Greenwald Speaks at Young Americans for Liberty Convention". CNN. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  25. ^ "Fed up with today's politics? #BeTheNext leader and change it". The Huffington Post. 19 July 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  26. ^ a b c d Hernandez, Noe. "Kellogg Community College will pay $55,000 to settle free-speech lawsuit". Battle Creek Enquirer. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  27. ^ "Community college agrees to resolve free speech lawsuit". The Detroit News. Associated Press. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Young Americans for Liberty v. Kellogg Community College". ADF Center for Academic Freedom. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  29. ^ a b c Wernau, Julie (9 April 2021). "Vaccination Passports Are New Flashpoint in Covid-19 Pandemic". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  30. ^ Makin, Cheryl. "'Should be a personal choice': Rutgers students to rally against COVID vaccine mandate". MyCentralJersey.com. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  31. ^ "Rutgers Students Opposed To Vaccine Mandate Hold Campus Protest". New Brunswick, NJ Patch. 19 May 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  32. ^ Lewis, Alexander. "'My body, my choice': Hundreds gather to oppose Rutgers' COVID vaccine mandate". MyCentralJersey.com. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  33. ^ Dickler, Jessica (19 May 2021). "Students protest mandatory Covid vaccinations at colleges". CNBC. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  34. ^ Fernandez, Madison. "Why Parents At Indiana University Staged A Protest Against The School's Vaccine Mandate". Forbes. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  35. ^ "Backlash expected as hundreds of US colleges introduce vaccine mandates". The Guardian. 31 May 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  36. ^ Carnahan, Ashley (13 May 2021). "Free speech group threatens legal action against college over denial of pro-liberty student club". The College Fix. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  37. ^ "ADF threatens legal action after college rejects student's YAL chapter proposal". www.campusreform.org. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  38. ^ "Skidmore student claims 'cancel culture campaign' prevented formation of conservative club". Fox News. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  39. ^ Carnahan, Ashley (13 May 2021). "Free speech group threatens legal action against college over denial of pro-liberty student club". The College Fix. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  40. ^ a b Brown, Jon (8 September 2021). "Libertarian student organization fighting 'unreasonable' campus vaccine mandates". Fox News. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  41. ^ a b "Young libertarians protest vaccine mandates on campus". www.insidehighered.com. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  42. ^ "'Should be a personal choice': Rutgers students to rally against COVID vaccine mandate". www.msn.com. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  43. ^ Lewis, Alexander. "'My body, my choice': Hundreds gather to oppose Rutgers' COVID vaccine mandate". MyCentralJersey.com. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  44. ^ "Colorado gun control laws failed to stop Boulder supermarket shooting". The Washington Times. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  45. ^ "Biden faces long odds in push for more state 'red flag' laws". AP NEWS. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  46. ^ Schnell, Erin Richards and Lindsay. "What happens when conservative school boards gain power at districts around the country". USA Today. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  47. ^ Sadeghi, McKenzie. "Fact check: Shouting profanity about the president is protected by the First Amendment, legal experts say". USA Today. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  48. ^ Mark Schierbecker (30 May 2016). "Young Americans for Liberty backtracks after staffer says it has blacklisted Milo Yiannopoulos". The College Fix.
  49. ^ Matthew Kelly (6 April 2017). "YSGA votes against recognizing controversial Young Americans for Liberty group". The Sunflower. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  50. ^ "Response to Fascist Entryism Into Libertarian Circles". It's Going Down. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  51. ^ Sue Loughlin (11 September 2018). "'America First' speaker provokes controversy at Rose-Hulman". Tribune Star. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  52. ^ Jared Holt (11 June 2019). "Young Americans for Liberty 'Officer' Identified as Member of Identity Evropa". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  53. ^ Taylor Johnson (17 September 2019). "White Supremacy Presists at UNR, 2 Years After Charlottesville". The Nevada Sagebrush. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  54. ^ a b Alex Kotch and Jared Holt (10 May 2019). "Koch Network Alums Are Going Full-On White Nationalist". Sludge. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  55. ^ Bentley, Robert J. (9 January 2021). "Young Americans for Liberty Accused of Sexual Misconduct". THE LIBERTY HERALD. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  56. ^ "Young Americans for Liberty Facing Sexual Harassment Scandal". InsideSources. 11 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  57. ^ @YALiberty (13 January 2021). "Today, the Young Americans for..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  58. ^ "Man charged with raping unconscious woman at UPJ in 2013". WTAJ - www.wearecentralpa.com. 27 April 2022. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  59. ^ "Cliff Maloney". Politicon. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  60. ^ Marie, Lindsay. "Five Words that Scare the Hell out of Socialists: 'Operation Win at the Door'". Townhall. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  61. ^ "Young Americans for Liberty Convention Galvanizes Attendees". The Texan. 9 September 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  62. ^ Wernau, Julie (9 April 2021). "Vaccination Passports Are New Flashpoint in Covid-19 Pandemic". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  63. ^ "Libertarian Students Fight Montana State Mask Mandate | Inside Higher Ed". www.insidehighered.com. Retrieved 18 November 2021.

External links[edit]