University of South Florida: Administrator Confuses Conservatives and Libertarians to Deny Group’s Recognition

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) denied recognition to the conservative student organization Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), arguing that YAF was too “similar” to the libertarian Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) student group. YAF submitted its Chapter Constitution in April 2010, but Student Programs Coordinator Edna Jones Miller rejected the application several months later because “the purpose of your proposed organization may be fairly similar, if not the same, as another existing organization that is established at the USF Tampa campus” and “no other student organization can exist with the same or similar mission/purpose.” Meanwhile, other student groups with similar names and missions had been granted recognition at USF, revealing an unacceptable double standard. After FIRE intervened, USF provided YAF with provisional recognition, but did not immediately revise its unconstitutional policy, which failed the Supreme Court’s requirement that government representatives use “narrow, objective, and definite standards” when subjecting First Amendment rights to a permit system.