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Three new organizations to start on campus next semester

Published: November 29, 2012, 3:59 am ET
Brittany Clemens /The Collegian
The Young Americans for Liberty is one of the three new organizations on campus this semester. Young Americans for Liberty is not only a club here at Richmond, but an organization that has more than 350 chapters nationwide.
Collegian Staff

Next semester, three new student-run organizations will join the expanding list of extracurricular clubs at the university.

The three organizations were approved at the faculty meeting in October. Faculty granted recognition to College Libertarians, Web Design Club and Young Americans for Liberty.

To be considered as a candidate for faculty approval, each club had to submit by-laws and present the idea for the organization in front of a committee, junior Niki Liu said. Liu is the student contact for the Web Design club.

Each organization must also have a faculty adviser that the student contacts and that members of the club elect. Lewis Barnet is a professor in the computer sciences department and will be the adviser for the Web Design club.

“I chose Dr. Barnett because he has experience in web design and development, and he is also a great mentor,” Liu said.

College Libertarians and the Young Americans for Liberty club share similar foundations of libertarianism, but both student contacts believe they’ll have different messages and basis to give to members.

“College Libertarians was created with the goal of creating a place for libertarians, ranging from monarchists to anarchists, to discuss current political issues,” said junior Devin Ralston. “The group meets and discusses issues and articles sent out in an email prior that week.” Next semester, the members hope to start reading some famous libertarian political theory books and economic works to base their discussion around, he said.

Unlike the other two new clubs, Young Americans for Liberty is a broader organization with more than 350 chapters nationwide. “We’ve established Young Americans for Liberty partly out of a disappointment for apathy,” sophomore Joseph Kessler said “We see little political discussion on campus, and we don’t see students promoting libertarian ideas.”

“We had to apply to become one of the chapters nationwide. We wrote about our plan for the chapter and our ideological influences. Then we began the process for school recognition, beginning with finding 10 students interested in joining.

The faculty adviser for the organization is Terry Price, a professor of leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics and law, Kessler said.

“In the short time we’ve been on campus, Young Americans for Liberty has attracted 43 students to join our membership list, and we’re looking forward to the events that we’re planning for next semester,” Kessler said.

Ralston said: I was aware of Young Americans for Liberty, and my basic understanding is that it focuses on advocacy and volunteering instead of discussion and theory. Some of the principles carried to conclusion on their mission page do not lead to anything I would call libertarianism. I find it a little too dogmatic.”

College Libertarians faculty adviser is Erik Craft who is also a professor of philosophy, politics, economics and law, Ralston said. “We asked him to be our faculty adviser, as some of us had taken his law and economics class and found it influential to our ideas,” he said.

College Libertarians was founded to provide a space for like-minded students to discuss ideas and libertarian beliefs, Ralston said. “I think its fairly easy to get involved or volunteer in the broader Richmond or national libertarian community, but there was a lack of libertarian community on campus,” he said.

Contact staff writer Nabila Khouri at nabila.khouri@richmond.edu

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  • Sharon Uti

    Why do we need two Libertarian organizations on such a small campus? Surely the two groups can come together and make a compromise. Granted you might not share exact beliefs, but that would mean more discussion within the larger group. This is just another example of lack of communication between organizations on campus.

  • Joseph Kessler

    Actually, that’s not true Sharon. We’ve talked extensively with Devin and his group, and we would love for them to help lead Young Americans for Liberty. YAL has been respectful, diplomatic, and open to compromise. However, they were not interested in becoming a part of a nationwide network of college activists, and the resources and benefits that it provides.

  • Devin Ralston

    Sharon, the reason that College Libertarians is separate and was unable to compromise with YAL is because the members of our group place a greater emphasis on intellectual conversation and discussion. Throwing around catchphrases and slogans might win people over to your beliefs on a superficial level, but what really matters is having honest and open dialogue and exploring issues in depth and not just trying to indoctrinate others. By being part of a national organization whose sole goal is political advocacy and not open discourse, the whole reason the members of College Libertarians wanted a group, would be defeated.