University of Virginia Reverses Decision Barring Recognition of Conservative Student Group

university_of_virginia_seal-svgThe University of Virginia has reversed a decision of VA student council to refuse to recognize a conservative student organization because it catered to conservative students.  This absurd decision was based, according to Ty Zirkle, UVA student council’s vice president for organizations, on a strained reading of state law.  The decision was in sharp contrast to other groups which cater to shared viewpoints.  The concern should be with the selective application of this perceived rule by the student council.

The Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) was barred from renewing its chapter due the requirement that members affirm the founding principles contained in the group’s  “Sharon Statement” which was viewed as violating discrimination based on “political affiliation.”  That statement is posted below. It was a statement adopted on September 11, 1960 by 100 young conservatives gathered at the home of William F. Buckley. It became the touchstone for young conservatives.

VA Code Ann. 23.1-400 states the opposite of what the students claimed as state law:


§ 23.1-400. Student organizations; rights and recognition.

A. To the extent allowed by state and federal law, a religious or political student organization may determine that ordering the organization’s internal affairs, selecting the organization’s leaders and members, defining the organization’s doctrines, and resolving the organization’s disputes are in furtherance of the organization’s religious or political mission and that only persons committed to that mission should conduct such activities.

B. No public institution of higher education that has granted recognition of and access to any student organization or group shall discriminate against any such student organization or group that exercises its rights pursuant to subsection A.

2013, cc. 696701, § 23-9.2:12; 2016, c. 588.

Nevertheless, in November, the YAF was told to remove the Sharon Statement requirement and a bylaw that lets its executive board revoke membership on any basis. YAF however has long denied that it had an affiliation with any particular party but was based on a shared ideological commitment.  It is precisely the type of ideological group that a university should cherish.  I love students assembling around shared view whether it is communism or environmentalism or evangelicalism or conservatism.  They all deepen the debate on campus and enrich student life.  Moreover, the position of the students stood in contrast with religious and other groups that restrict members to shared beliefs as protected under Virginia law. 


The reversal is welcomed but the controversy should lead to a greater focus application of such rules for content-based speech discrimination.

The Sharon Statement

In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution—the division of powers—is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?



16 thoughts on “University of Virginia Reverses Decision Barring Recognition of Conservative Student Group”

  1. Upon further review, the ruling on the field is changed. Chalk one up for young conservatives. That by the way is a very good statement.

  2. “allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand”,

    That would exclude inheritance, scams, lobbying for favorable legislation, public roads, public fire suppression, public water and sewer systems, public airports, and other infrastructure.

    The duty of government is to collectively enable a decent quality of life for all of its citizens. It is not world domination by genocide of other cultures.

    1. Were it permitted, a privately owned/run airport would be a damn sight better than what we have today. And nothing in libertarianism precludes the creation of central water, sewer, etc. Your last paragraph really sums up your dogma, Perhaps you would be happier in Venezuela or if you don’t like the heat, Denmark.

    2. The duty of government is to collectively enable a decent quality of life for all of its citizens.

      Where is that stated? The only legitimate purpose for government is clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence: That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

      The government is not established to enable anything for the collective. The government is established to secure for the individual those rights that all individuals have by merely existing. They are not empowered to enable any particular quality of life but rather they are to establish an environment where the individual is secure in their rights to pursue whatever quality of life they desire, so long as that pursuit does not infringe on the rights of other individuals pursuing their own happiness.

  3. In the spirit of the season, I’m choosing to view this as an example of how universities are supposed to work. A group of people come up with a hair-brained idea (e.g., restricting free speech) and then subsequently change course when learning the error of their ways. Teachable moments abound. Let’s hope this is an example for other university admins, faculty, student groups intent on similar neo-fascist efforts.

  4. OK, see here’s the point of all the Democratic Party neo-fascism. It doesn’t really matter if they win or lose on some of these silly proclamations and rules. The point is INTIMIDATION of conservatives and the conservative viewpoint. After this, even though the YAF won, does anybody doubt which way the powers that be at the college wish you to think???

    Even though the nazis lost this battle, there will be students and faculty who STFU lest they offend the liberal powers that be. That is why conservatives need to get loud and proud and not back down.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. How about focusing on one’s education instead of wasting time trying to control others’ thoughts, speech, and associations.

    1. Uh, if you are in 24/7 SJW Crusade Mode, the politics are more important than a mere education. That would be like 100 years ago asking the WCTU to stop busting up saloons and just let people drink. It wasn’t going to happen.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. I guess we lived in a different world, having attended college in the 1980s. Back then it was just school, study, part-time job, and a few extra-curricular activities. SJWs did not exist in any form then. In fact the only time I remember students standing up for something was when someone came up with an idea to form a second-hand bookstore for selling at reasonable prices used textbooks to other students and bypass the official bookstore’s robber barons.

        Of course there was student government but nobody paid any attention to that fool’s errand.

        1. I recall anti-apartheid protests on campuses in the 80s, followed by Iran-Contra protests. I suggest you were simply not paying attention to politics at the time.

          1. I could suggest that it could also be that we attended different schools but whatever it was that gave you clairvoyance to know what I was paying attention to during the 1980s surely has not offered you the best advice.

  6. You should always have the YAF on your campus. During the early 60s there was a hunger strike in Danforth Chapel, which is in the center of the campus at ASU. The YAF brought tables of BBQ food and huge fans to direct the smell into the chapel during the strike. The strikers did not hold out long. 🙂 Long live the YAF. 🙂

    1. If you did that now, it would be vegans running out in panic, claiming they were victimized by cow murdering patriarchs. Oh wait, they wouldn’t be in a church anyhow so I guess the whole affair will never happen.

      1. Darren Smith – ASU, with its four campuses, has well over 65000 students and its primarily a commuter school. It has dorms on the edge of campus, but only freshman usually live there, then they get apts in “Sin City” the following years. The dorms house maybe 7500 students.

        The SDS used to meet upstairs from where I played bridge, so I know most of the members, at least by face. But it really is not an activist campus, it is just too big and too hot most of the time. The SDS was our most active group and there were about 6-10 of them depending on the traffic. They were the ones in the chapel. And they were doing pretty good until the YAF started their counter-attack. 😉

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