SGA votes against recognizing controversial Young Americans for Liberty group
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The student senate voted against a resolution Wednesday night that would recognize a WSU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty — a libertarian free-speech group that some believe promotes hate speech.
The senate engaged in a passionate debate over the limits of free speech and the role of SGA in creating an accepting environment on campus.
Sen. Sandra Carlo was outspoken in her opposition of the resolution.
“Although I am someone who absolutely believes in free speech and activism and being able to speak up, what we have seen from this organization is dangerous,” Carlo said.
Young Americans for Liberty advocates for the First Amendment even when others worry the delicate line between free speech and hate speech has been crossed.
Various chapters across the nation have hosted controversial Breitbart News Tech Editor, Milo Yiannopoulos on his “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” speaking out against feminism and Black Lives Matter, and accusing LGBTQ individuals of blowing hate crimes out of proportion.
The national organization has neither publically endorsed nor condemned the actions of individual chapters on college campuses.
Sen. Timothy Dodd expressed his intolerance for hate speech, but voiced his belief that students endorsing a WSU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty deserved an opportunity to prove themselves.
“My stomach is in knots right now because this is a tough issue for me,” Dodd said. “I want to give this specific chapter of the organization a chance to show that libertarianism as a political philosophy doesn’t have to be pigeon-holed as racist and reactionary.”
WSU currently recognizes both College Republicans and College Democrats, but has no recognized Libertarian groups.
Still, some, such as Sen. Zubair Kahn felt the controversial legacy of the organization outweighed any positives it might bring to WSU.
“I think that if we want to have a libertarian organization on campus, there are other ways to do that,” Kahn said.
Ultimately, the majority of senators agreed, and the resolution failed by a vote of 8-16-5.