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Suffolk Student Opens Campus Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom

College students are more politically divided than they’ve ever been in the last half-century. According to The Atlantic, a 2017 survey of freshmen college students across the nation found that only two in five students identified as non-partisan. Alternatively, 35.5% identified as liberal/far-left, and 22.2% identified as conservative/far-right. College students are getting political, and it’s showing on campuses nationwide.

“Are your free speech rights being curtailed on your campus? Of course they are! Most schools infringe on students free speech rights, especially if you want to promote conservative ideas.”

This text is from the student activism page of the organization Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a nation-wide group started in 1960 by William F. Buckley Jr. YAF is not affiliated with any specific political party, hosts conservative conferences across the country, and assists college chapters with bringing right-wing political speakers to campuses.

Anthony DiMauro, a junior at Suffolk University, founded Suffolk’s own chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. “It’s important to bring a conservative platform to a campus,” says DiMauro, president of Suffolk’s YAF chapter. “Conservative speech is essentially missing, so this is a place where conservative speech can exist.”

DiMauro says YAF welcomes liberal-minded students to join as well, aiming to create an environment where all ideas are presented, challenged, and discussed. The group functions with the philosophy that even if you have fundamental disagreements, you should understand where the other is coming from, and why they hold the beliefs they do.

The YAF’s national website states their goal is “advocating for conservatism and speaking out against the liberal agenda.” According to DiMauro, this liberal agenda is “something along the lines of a post-modern, socialist-minded, anti-west, anti-capitalistic fervor that simultaneously seeks to shut down anything opposed to that narrative via descriptions of it as hate speech.”

DiMauro says the goal is to break the liberal agenda in order to make room for conservative ideas. To break this narrative, he says the goal “is to have the people that are promoting it discuss it and be proven incorrect, or, minimally, have a higher viewpoint of the other side’s standpoint.”

Everything is open to discussion, and all opinions are welcome, but according to DiMauro, “there is and ought to be a hierarchy of viability regarding ideas.” For him, that means conservatism reigns. “The conservative approach seems to be better, or more correct, or even at times just correct against a leftist approach,” says DiMauro.

DiMauro admits that, “The idea that my tribe is greater than your tribe, or anything along those lines, [it] causes a fractured society.” No one should be dogmatic about their ideas, he says, instead welcoming “an open and honest discussion to flesh out the best ideas and solutions.” To DiMauro, a core issue of society is that a lot of people assume if you vote for a certain candidate, you automatically agree with every single aspect of their platform. In reality, you may only support their fiscal policy, or their social policy.

Aside from easing political division through discussion, DiMauro hopes Suffolk’s chapter of YAF can focus on the issue of free speech. Speech, DiMauro says, should not be regulated: “I think when it comes to Young Americans for Freedom, the core principle that I like to hone in upon would be that there’s nothing that cannot be talked about.”

And he means nothing. DiMauro hopes YAF will be a platform where everyone and anyone, regardless of political ideology, can feel free to discuss their opinions, no matter how provocative or potentially unfounded.

“For me, hate speech is a fallacy. I know that’s controversial, but I suppose that’s the point,” says DiMauro. “The point isn’t to provoke, but definitely to have zero ideas or concepts that are incontrovertible. Everything deserves a discussion in my viewpoint.”

DiMauro believes firmly in the theory of the free market of ideas, where freedom of speech reigns, but the public may decide to ostracize or condemn certain language. In other words, “you can wave your hand around as long as you don’t hit somebody,” he says.

To promote freedom of speech and political discussions, YAF aims to bring different speakers to campus and hold discussion panels with professors from different fields. This Tuesday, they’ll be hosting a panel with four Suffolk University professors at 12:15 pm in Somerset 116. The panel will discuss postmodernism and the effects it has had on various fields of study.

Next month, on April 18th at 7 pm in the Somerset Café, YAF is welcoming Dr. Christina Hoff-Sommers to campus. Hoff-Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and has been published in The Atlantic, as well as various philosophical journals. She is also the author of two notable books, Who Stole Feminism and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. Hoff-Sommers will be speaking on the presentation and validity of the wage gap, male privilege, intersectionality, and free speech. After her speech there will be a Q&A and a brief reception.

To learn more or get involved with YAF, contact Anthony DiMauro at adimauro@su.suffolk.edu.

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