In the wake of a standing room only event with conservative leader Bay Buchanan on the topic of immigration, the Virginia Tech Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) Chapter has been informed that they will not receive funding for the next two semesters.
Lauren McCue, the Chair of her YAF Chapter, requested funding from the Student Budget Board and received it for her club’s event with Bay Buchanan. Buchanan was the youngest person ever to serve as Treasurer of the United States, author of two books, and has an extensive career in public policy. The morning after Buchanan spoke, the event made the front page of the school newspaper—apparently administrators didn’t like the “controversy” and “stir” that it caused on campus.
Lauren was also told that their fliers went “too far” because the event was advertised as “Alien Invasion: How Illegal Immigration is Hurting America,” and while the fliers drew in a large crowd, it was “offensive” to some student groups.
Apparently, the discussion on immigration with the former Treasurer of the United States irked some liberal administrators at Virginia Tech. The Student Budget Board contacted Lauren to tell her that her club would not be funded for the next two semesters because her event “violated the principles of community.”
However, students who attended the event had a different perspective. Harrison Pearson, a Virginia Teach student, said, “The Bay Buchanan event was a great event for myself, and I’m sure it was for others as well. Conservative values scarcely find an outlet on college campuses, so this event allowed me to develop opinions on the topic and listen to the opposition at the same time.”
When Lauren asked for a specific explanation as to why her club was losing funding, her inquiries were ignored. Finally, Lauren set a meeting with the Student Budget Board, and they explained to her that they “had an issue” funding the event in the first place because the speaker was Bay Buchanan. Max Frischman, the head of the Student Budget Board (who didn’t attend the event) told the YAF Chapter that if they had known the topic was going to be immigration—something that “would create a problem on campus when there isn’t one—they never would’ve approved the funding for it.”
Lauren politely asked the Student Budget Board administrators why the topic of the discussion even mattered and that it was wrong to censor speech and discussion on controversial topics. The answer from Frischman, head of the Board, was that “clubs like (hers) generally push buttons more than other organizations, given the nature of their mission.”
In a statement to Young America’s Foundation, Lauren said, “I’m disappointed in Virginia Tech for being intolerant toward conservatives. I feel discriminated against for speaking my mind and standing up for what I believe in as the chairwoman of my Young Americans for Freedom chapter.”
Unfortunately, Lauren had planned events for her club to celebrate Freedom Week from November 10-14, but funding for her club was denied since one of the events involved tearing down a “mock” Berlin Wall on campus. She was told that she would need to obtain insurance since there could be “flying” debris that could be a danger to students on campus. Also, the head of the Student Budget Board said, “How do we know that you will actually tear down a mock Berlin Wall and not focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead?”
Clearly, there’s a suppression of speech, and discussion on controversial policy topics are not allowed on Virginia Tech’s campus.
Ashley Pratte is the spokeswoman for Young America’s Foundation.