Officials at a Florida college have ordered police to escort off campus several people who were trying to recruit members for a conservative student organization and who had obtained verbal permission to be at the location.
Young Americans for Freedom told WND the incident took place Tuesday on the campus of Palm Beach State College, where Student Activities Administrator Olivia Ford-Morris “was visibly disturbed” by promotional literature being distributed by the group. The materials included publications of the Heritage Foundation critical of President Obama’s policies.
The ejection came even though Ford-Morris had granted student Christina Beattie permission to promote the organization on campus, the group said.
A spokesman for the Florida chapter of the organization, Daniel Diaz, told WND the students involved are discussing the ejection with college officials in an attempt to reach a resolution.
The group, founded in 1960 to represent conservatives on college and university campuses, has been working to establish additional college campus chapters as well as expand existing efforts.
The members set up a table on the Palm Beach campus in Lake Worth Tuesday during “club rush” after Beattie received verbal permission from Ford-Morris, the organization said.
But campus officials then “approached the group and after seeing information about the organization and its ideals criticizing Barack Obama’s economic policy, Ms. Ford-Morris was visible disturbed by the material presented,” the YAF report said.
The officials called campus police to make sure the group was removed from the campus. Ford-Morris denied having talked with Beattie.
“I was shocked and offended by her dishonesty. She outright denied giving me permission to table at club rush simply because she disagreed with my beliefs,” said Beattie. “The fact is, she was using her administrative power to silence the conservative opposition.”
School spokeswoman Grace Truman said, “Club rush at Palm Beach State College is for officially recognized student organizations, and all of the clubs participating in the campus club rush are official student clubs. The process for becoming a recognized campus club applies to all and is published on the college website. This student has been informed of the necessary steps and is encouraged to follow this process.”
She denied that there were any clubs recruiting who should not have been there and that Ford-Morris looked at anything on the YAF table.
Beattie said she wanted a club for conservatives on campus and had sent Ford-Morris an e-mail about being allowed to recruit.
“To Christina’s surprise Ms. Ford-Morris called her and allowed the group to table at the event,” the organization’s report said.
“It is extremely frustrating that when a conservative organization like YAF tries to start a chapter on a public university, administrators who proclaim that colleges are the market place of ideas proceed to be intolerant and censor views contrary to the liberal ideology,” Diaz said.
“The public should be outraged at ideologically driven college faculties and as a community we should demand that all views receive the same outlet on college campuses,” he said.
The Young Americans for Freedom posted a series of YouTube videos they made at the time:
The student organization noted that other groups that participated in the “club rush” had not even registered for formal permission, but they remained untouched. The group cited the campus “Film Club” as an example.
The YAF said earlier it had experienced a similar situation at Florida Atlantic University, and officials with the organization said attorneys were reviewing video of the proceedings there.