Student gov: Conservative group 'has the potential to cause harm'

A California student court overturned the student government’s decision to reject a conservative club in early May.

Santa Clara University’s student government denied the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter Registered Student Organization (RSO) status in late April. While 14 student senators voted to establish YAF as an RSO and only nine voted against it, according to a document obtained by Campus Reform, a supermajority of 16 votes were required to establish the organization. 

The Santa Clara student government claimed that YAF’s “platform on ‘freedom of speech’ has the potential to cause harm to other members of the SCU community (ex: by making students question their safety),” according to a document obtained by Campus Reform. Student Sen. Sahil Sagar said that the group could pose a "threat" to illegal immigrant students.

"In regards to legal immigration, we do have plenty of students on our [campus] who are undocumented and may see your club as a threat because of you on legal immigration," Sagar said, according to meeting minutes. 

The student government also claimed that YAF had featured Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar in its presentation, “to appeal to left-leaning students, with no correlation to the overall conservative ideologies expressed by YAF.”

Rob Zintl, a member of the student government court which later overturned the decision, noted that the assertion that YAF was trying to cast Omar as endorsing the club was “thoroughly disproven, as Ilhan Omar never appeared in YAF's presentation.”

SCU recognizes two conservative clubs: College Republicans and Turning Point USA. Student government sophomore Sen. Ciara Moezidis,who voted to deny YAF RSO status, suggested that granting recognition to another conservative club at Santa Clara might result in a "surplus of conservative clubs," according to the meeting minutes.

Freshman Sen. Hiwad Haider, who voted the same way, claimed that YAF is redundant to TPUSA. 

“Party and ideology are parallel. It is redundant to have [a separate] nonpartisan [group],” he said, referencing YAF.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Student explodes over anti-socialist event]

SCU At-large Senator for Jesuit Values Jim O'Brien, who voted to grant YAF RSO status, told Campus Reform "colleagues voted no on the grounds of redundancy" and that the student government&rsquo

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