Student Council grants Young Americans for Freedom CIO status

Lambeth Residence representatives also speak at meeting a proposed softball stadium

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Ty Zirkle, a third-year College student and Student Council Vice President for Organizations, speaks on Young Americans for Freedom's CIO status.

Thomas Roades | Cavalier Daily

Student Council approved Young Americans for Freedom as a contracted independent organization in its first general body meeting of the new semester Tuesday night.

The vote to approve came after several weeks in which the organization’s status was in question due to potential issues over whether YAF’s proposed constitution was in accordance with University policy. The delay led to threats of legal action from the now-approved CIO. 

According to the CIO bill from the meeting, Young Americans for Freedom was founded in 1960 to “bring together students to advocate for the ideas of limited government, individual freedom, free enterprise, traditional values and a strong national defense.” 

Although YAF initially pressed for legal action last semester, Student Council claimed it did not directly deny YAF’s CIO status, but withheld approval because it asserted the organization did not meet nondiscrimination requirements.

The conservative organization required students to adhere to the values of the Sharon Statement, a requirement which Student Council previously considered to be in violation of the terms and conditions for CIOs in University policy.  

Ty Zirkle, a third-year College student and Council’s vice president for organizations, commented on the issue in an email to The Cavalier Daily in December.

“The organization’s application has remained in the review process until the organization’s constitution was found to comply with the University-mandated nondiscrimination clause provided to the Council by UVA Student Activities,” Zirkle said.

University requirements on the Student Council website state, “A student organization is ineligible for CIO status when the organization restricts its membership, programs or activities on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status and family and genetic information.”

After reviewing the application, Student Council found that the now-CIO’s constitution was indeed in compliance with CIO standards. 

“We reviewed the application and found their constitution to be in compliance with both state law and university policy,” Zirkle said at Tuesday night’s meeting. 

According to Council’s website, recognition as a CIO provides certain benefits, such as the ability to reserve meeting space on grounds, the right to advertise during Activity Fairs and the potential eligibility to receive funding. 

YAF’s CIO status unanimously passed with three abstentions. 

No YAF members spoke at the meeting.

Representatives also heard from three College students about the University’s proposed plans to build a softball stadium on Lambeth Field. The University’s Board of Visitors previously deferred a vote on the site of the proposed stadium and Student Council passed a resolution in support of preserving the field in December.

Fourth-year Carter McCants, third-year Eleni Orfanides and second-year Nate Hellmuth all spoke in favor of preserving Lambeth Field, citing residents’ concerns.

The three students spoke during the public comment section of the meeting. McCants, the Senior Resident for the Lambeth Field Apartments, spoke first.

“We’re here tonight to express our concern about the University’s proposed plan for a softball field on Lambeth Field,” she said. “A lot of the residents reached out to me personally expressing their concerns.”

Orfanides, a transfer student peer advisor, worried about the proposed construction’s impact on the transfer student community. Since many transfer students struggle to find housing off-Grounds, she said there is a large concentration of transfers in on-Grounds housing, particularly Lambeth. 

A diagram of the original proposed siting for the softball stadium in Board of Visitors documents from December 2017. 

“The softball field would make it a lot more undesirable for transfer students to live there, and would make it harder for them to find housing,” McCants said. 

McCants also mentioned an effort by concerned students to stop the new softball field from being built in the Lambeth area. 

“We have a petition currently going around with 700 signatures,” she said.  

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