Massive Victory For Conservative Group At Lake County College Amidst Backlash, Picks Up National Coverage

The training consisted of six sessions, each attended by over two hundred faculty, with

multiple lawyers leading the gatherings. The first order of business was discussing if YAF was a

hate group, and the lawyers confirmed to the staff that YAF has a right to exist. In their

slideshow, the lawyers had stated that the faculty should "avoid treating protected speech as

actionable misconduct," which the group claimed members of the college had been doing. The

lawyers affirmed that campus groups could host public events on topics, no matter how

controversial. In an email sent to all students, the College of Lake County stated, "the College

has a responsibility to recognize and uphold freedom of speech and expression that is protected

by the First Amendment. Allowing the opportunity for robust debates or panel discussions does

not mean that the College endorses or agrees with a particular side or opinion. Rather, it

demonstrates the College's respect for differing perspectives, ideas, and thoughts that are within

the purview of the First Amendment."

"We see this as a huge accomplishment,'' stated YAF Chapter Chairman Rob Corn, "Now

we know that our ideas will not be silenced on campus and that our efforts to promote open

dialogue about critical issues are succeeding. Conservative students at CLC deserve support, and

the school administration is starting to recognize that."

Young Americans for Freedom's mission is to promote "the principles of limited

government, individual freedom, free enterprise, a strong national defense, and traditional

values" to youth all over the country. Over the past semester, the group hosted several public

debates and panels discussing current issues, some attended by over 150 people. They also hold

bi-weekly meetings, participate in service projects and create campus-wide initiatives such as the

9/11 project, where they lead the school in planting over 3,000 American Flags in remembrance

of the September 11th terrorist acts.

Intolerance against YAF has come from students, including the Student Government

President who stated, on camera, that he chose to participate in a debate put on by YAF to

"Stand up against racist rhetoric. . . and to fight back against organizations like Young

Americans for Freedom and the Republican Party." Another example occurred during a debate

when a student sat near the conservative speaker and loudly smacked a hammer against a sheet

of metal whenever the speaker talked. The YAF group put up a poster board displaying

conservative slogans in November, and a student was witnessed ripping it down.

While multiple threats and libel have come from students, there was also a backlash from

CLC faculty. When conducting a public panel highlighting black conservative students, a staff

member was seen publicly "booing" the conservative students when they spoke, and later created

a roller board affiliating YAF as a "white nationalist" and "hate group." Countless complaints

were given to the student activities department that YAF is hateful and should not be allowed on

campus. Ironically, Young Americans for Freedom at CLC is one of the most diverse clubs on

campus, with members of many racial, political, cultural, and religious backgrounds.

"We would like to specifically thank the President, Dr. Lori Suddick, and the

Vice-President of the school for their public defense of our club through this mandate. We would

also like to thank the student activities department for their patience with the frequent intolerance

that they deal with on behalf of our organization." - Young Americans for Freedom CLC

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