GW students stand up for free speech...but will admin follow suit?
- George Washington University's student government passed a resolution condemning acts of vandalism against a conservative group.
- Young Americans for Freedom has reportedly had thousands of its flyers torn down in recent years.
The George Washington University Student Association passed a resolution denouncing the “acts of intolerance” against Young Americans for Freedom at the Washington, D.C. school, and the conservative group's president is waiting to see if the GW administration will get on board.
The resolution, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained, lists multiple instances of vandalism against YAF since 2017. These acts of vandalism include posters for various speakers being torn down or defaced, which has resulted in more than 5,000 pieces of paper being used to “print and reprint GW YAF flyers for multiple events between November 2017 and April 2019,” according to the resolution.
Various instances where YAF’s property has been vandalized is included in the resolution, and include the following:
When YAF brought Ben Shapiro to GW, a flyer reading“HEY YAF GET SECURITY” was displayed on campus, which the resolution describes as a threat towards the conservative student organization.
More than 1,000 flyers promoting a Marc Thiessen event were removed from campus during April 1, 2019 - April 9, 2019.
In 2017, YAF hosted a pro-life “Cemetery of the Innocents” display, only to have portions of the display destroyed by protesters, as Campus Reform reported.
While the resolution passed by a vote of 21-1-7, some were a bit uneasy with the fact that YAF was the main focus and called for the group's name to be removed from the legislation and replaced with all student organizations, according to the GW Hatchet.
The resolution also urges the GW administration to take action against the “intolerant” individuals described in the legislation.
“The George Washington University Student Association Senate urges the Administration of the University and The Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities to hold intolerant individuals, and organizations, on campus accountable,” states the resolution.
Kara Zupkus, who is president of the GW YAF chapter as well as a Campus Reform correspondent, told Campus Reform that the group is pleased that the SA came together and condemned the instances of vandalism against the group.
“GW YAF is pleased that the student senate recognizes the intolerance and repeated harassment GW YAF has faced over the years,” Zupkus said. “It says a lot when a primarily liberal student government stands up for a conservative organization; vandalism and threats have no place in discourse on a college campus.”
Zupkus said that she felt the issue was not “particularly political” and that the organization “expected the student senate to put aside their own beliefs and defend common sense values.”
While the resolution condemning the various instances of vandalism passed, the YAF chairwoman said that she still expects them to occur until the GW administrators “take a stand.”
“Unfortunately, the acts of vandalism will continue until GW administrators take a stand and show that it will not be tolerated. These perpetrators must be held to the student code of conduct, and punished by the university,” Zupkus said. “Otherwise, students will continue to think they can get away with this kind of behavior, which GW is enabling.”
George Washington University did not return a request for comment in time for publication when asked if it supports the SA's resolution.
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