Emotions still high in SGA as Supreme Court overturns decision, recognizing YAL

The Wichita State Student Supreme Court overturned a controversial student government decision on Wednesday not to recognize a WSU chapter of the Young Americans for Liberty — or YAL — student group.

Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall filed the complaint with the Supreme Court.

“By not passing that resolution, you violated everything you’re supposed to stand for as Student Government,” Hall said at SGA’s Senate meeting. “You talk about not discriminating, and you discriminated against them.”

A number of senators continued to raise concerns with other chapters of the national organization’s willingness to host speakers they believe promote hate speech.

“If there’s a speaker who is ‘alt-right’ and they start talking about white supremacy or are queerphobic or transphobic, what are our rights there and how do we prevent that from happening?” Sen. Debbie Ojeda asked.

Hall noted difficulties with prosecuting hate speech, and cited freedom of speech as a vital part of the academic process.

“There are speakers that we bring to campus all the time that other folks may not want us to bring,” Hall said. “It may not be as controversial as what you’re talking about, but universities are built on freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

Hall said she understands the actions of students on other campuses might make WSU students feel “unsafe about this group,” but asked whether it was fair to judge the group on the actions of others.

“I’m not judging,” Ojeda interjected. “As a queer woman of color, I’m afraid.”

Ojeda continued to cite her concerns relating hate speech to WSU’s new concealed carry policy going into effect in July.

Sen. Paul Raymond took it upon himself to get acquainted with the group and their goals by attending a meeting with their members earlier this week.

“Not to mitigate the concerns about discrimination against the LGBTQ community, but two of the six members of the group are part of that community and hopefully their intentions are not to undermine their own identities for the sake of an agenda,” Raymond said.

Ojeda was still not convinced that the group’s motives were pure, citing Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay male speaker often associated with the “alt-right” who has been invited to college campuses across the country by multiple chapters of YAL on his “Dangerous Faggot Tour.”

“I don’t think that a member’s sexual orientation is a predictor of whether or not this group stands for hate,” Ojeda said.

According to Raymond, the organization’s first goal is completely unrelated to social commentary.

“The first thing they want to do is set up a table at the RSC to educate students about the United States tax code,” Raymond said.

 

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Read the full Wichita State Student Supreme Court decision here: YAL Supreme Court Decision