Santa Clara University: Student Government Association’s Denial of Recognition to Young Americans for Freedom Chapter


Santa Clara University

Search all Cases

Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

A group of Santa Clara University students sought recognition for the SCU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, an organization dedicated to advancing conservative principles. After SCU’s Student Government Association denied the club recognition, citing its “ideology” and the existence of other conservative clubs, FIRE wrote to SCU on May 17, 2019, explaining that denying recognition to YAF based on the group’s views was contrary to SCU’s stated commitments to free expression. 

After the student government again voted to deny YAF recognition on May 24, SCU’s administration declined to grant recognition, claiming that the record does not “establish that the denial of recognition was based on YAFs political opinion.” FIRE sent a second letter to SCU on June 27 disputing this rationale, as a majority of the student government members explicitly raised YAF’s viewpoints. On September 28, after a settlement meeting with YAF’s general counsel, SCU’s administration granted recognition to the group.