HomeSchool Reform NewsYAF Chapter Sues University at Buffalo Officials for Violating First Amendment Rights

YAF Chapter Sues University at Buffalo Officials for Violating First Amendment Rights

The State University of New York at Buffalo chapter of Young Americans for Freedom is suing university officials after the group’s status was revoked.

In March, the university’s Student Association revised its rules to ban chapters of outside organizations from campus, effectively banning YAF from campus. On Friday, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the YAF chapter, alleging that the Student Association and several campus administrators targeted the group specifically, and violated its First Amendment rights.

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“Associating with likeminded peers on campus to discuss relevant issues is fundamental to the rights of free speech and exercise that the First Amendment protects,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Caleb Dalton said in a press release Friday. “But instead of protecting an open and free marketplace of ideas, officials at the University at Buffalo have violated Young Americans for Freedom’s constitutionally protected freedom to assemble and speak. Public universities can’t punish students because of their political or religious viewpoints or affiliation with a national organization.”

According to the complaint, the U. Buffalo Student Association amended its policies governing how clubs are recognized on March 27th, 2023. “Except for clubs in the Academic, Engineering, or Sports Councils, and clubs whose sole purpose is to engage in inter-collegiate competition, no SA club may be a chapter of or otherwise part of any outside organization,” the updated policy stated.

The lawsuit further claims that both University at Buffalo and the Student Association were advised that the new policy violated the group’s constitutional rights, and were given ample opportunity to revise the policy. Still, the SA moved forward, passing the new policy and de-recognizing YAF, along with several other student groups including: Brothers and Sisters in Christ (BASIC); Turning Point USA; Amnesty International; and Circle K, the college affiliate of the Kiwanis service group. The complaint also alleges that while adopting the new policy, the Student Body President admitted that the move was targeted at YAF. “We all know why we’re doing this,” he told the Student Association, according to the complaint.

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As a result, YAF is no longer entitled to a budget allocated from the Mandatory Student Activity Fee. Since it is de-recognized, YAF can no longer reserve space on campus for events, set up tables in the Student Union, fundraise, or recruit new members. But other groups with similar purposes are allowed to continue operating despite the new policy, the complaint alleges.

Campus Reform reached out to the U. Buffalo chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, Young America’s Foundation, and the Alliance Defending Freedom for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

Originally published by Campus Reform. Republished with permission.

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John Rigolizzo
John Rigolizzo
John Rigolizzo serves as Associate Editor for Campus Reform. Previously, he was a contributor at The Daily Wire, covering national news stories on a variety of topics. His writing has previously been featured in the Daily Caller, The College Fix, and Global Farmer Network, among others. He was a 2022 Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute. A native of South Jersey, he is a graduate of Rutgers University-Camden.


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