Conservative Ideals Have a Presence on Campus, Thanks to This Group
Young America's Foundation wonders why those on the Left are so fearful of what those on the Right are going to say at colleges and universities
Spring semester is already winding down on many college campuses, but until the very last day of classes, one organization is doing its best to make sure all students have the opportunity to hear conservative viewpoints — something hard to come by these days at our institutions of higher learning.
This month and last, “Our nationwide campus lecture program has been dispatching more than two dozen leading conservatives to deliver 48 campus lectures,” Spencer Brown, a spokesman for Young America’s Foundation (YAF), headquartered in Reston, Virginia, told LifeZette. “The events draw standing room-only crowds, and often turn the tide on these campuses by breaking through the liberal blockade against conservative ideas. They allow a free and open exchange of ideas to spread into classrooms.”
He added, “Young America’s Foundation’s lecture program is proof that conservative ideas are in demand among the rising generation.”
It’s not always easy, though. The group successfully brought Ben Shapiro to address a packed auditorium in late February at the University of Minnesota, despite what Brown calls the school’s attempts to stifle the event and keep students from hearing conservative ideas.
“After allowing prominent leftists including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) to speak on its main campus, University of Minnesota administrators barred Shapiro from the main Minneapolis campus and quarantined him in a remote venue seven miles away — in a room with less than half the capacity students initially requested,” Brown said. “On the evening of the event, more than 400 people packed the auditorium to capacity and heard — for once — conservative ideas at the University of Minnesota.”
The Q&A portion of the event — a highlight of any YAF lecture, noted Brown — allowed students to engage with Shapiro, challenge his ideas, and have a discussion on the issues.
"It's no secret higher education has been monopolized by leftist ideas, professors, and administrators, so the intellectual diversity brought to campuses by YAF's lecture program is vital," said Brown.
"Students often remark that, without a YAF lecture on their campus, they'd never hear an articulation of conservative ideas during their time at college. It's critical for all students to hear a diverse set of ideas as part of their education. YAF's lecture program is the largest in the country to do just that, by bringing [forward] bold conservatives and their ideas."
YAF traces its history back to the 1960s, when a group of young conservatives founded Young Americans for Freedom (the chapter affiliate of Young America's Foundation) and drafted the Sharon Statement at William F. Buckley's home in Sharon, Connecticut.
"Over the next several decades, conservative leaders such as William F. Buckley, President Ronald Reagan, and Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) worked closely with Young America's Foundation and Young Americans for Freedom to build the modern conservative movement," added Brown. "In 1998, Young America's Foundation stepped forward to save President Reagan's beloved ranch home, Rancho del Cielo, in the Santa Ynez Mountains of California."
Today, the so-called "Western White House" is preserved by YAF as a lasting monument to the values and accomplishments of the "Great Communicator," to be shared with the next generation.
"As the principal outreach organization of the conservative movement, YAF is committed to ensuring that increasing numbers of young Americans are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values."
Young America's Foundation's projects also include the National Journalism Center and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise.
"Unlike leftists who seem to believe their own ideas are so flawed they can't stand up to discussion or any opposing viewpoint, YAF's campus speakers such as Ben Shapiro, Christina Hoff Sommers, Rick Santorum, and Bay Buchanan relish the opportunity to share their ideas and engage in a respectful debate on the issues," said Brown.
"The real question should be: Why is the Left so afraid of conservative ideas' being expressed on campuses?"
Chris Woodward is a reporter for American Family News and OneNewsNow.com. He is based in Mississippi.