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University of Virginia promises to recognize conservative club after outcry from former governor

Policy will be re-evaluated, too

Former Gov. George Allen, Fox News personality Brit Hume and other influential alumni let loose on the University of Virginia after it refused to officially recognize a conservative student group on the grounds that it required members to affirm its conservative values.

Warned by lawyers for the Young Americans for Freedom chapter that it had until Wednesday to change the nondiscrimination policy under which it was rejected, UVA met the deadline, according to Young America’s Foundation, the umbrella organization for student chapters.

The foundation said the university’s counsel told it the chapter “would be recognized” and the university “would be reevaluating its policy to ensure compliance with state law and the First Amendment.”

The chapter had been recognized for “several years” but the administration objected to a new requirement this semester that members agree with the Sharon Statement, the founding document for Young Americans for Freedom, according to the foundation.

UVA claimed this requirement discriminated against students for their “political affiliation,” which is prohibited for so-called contracted independent organizations.

The foundation said the chapter was far from the only recognized campus group to impose such litmus tests:

The UVA Virginia Atheists and Agnostics limit membership to those who “promote a hostility-free atmosphere.” The UVA Queer Student Union denies membership to those who are “actively against the goals and purpose” of the group.

Gov. Allen provided a written statement that said Thomas Jefferson, the university’s founder, “would be pleased that reason and freedom have ultimately prevailed at the University of Virginia and some liberty-loving Wahoos can join the intrepid YAF chapter.”

The Daily Caller said administration spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn told it Tuesday, before the Wednesday announcement, that the club’s rejection was temporary and had not come to a final vote in the student council. The administration “told it to do so,” the publication paraphrased de Bruyn as saying.

The College Fix has asked de Bruyn to confirm whether the university has indeed recognized the chapter; ordered the student council to recognize it; or told the student council to carry out a final vote on its application.

MORE: UVA won’t recognize YAF because of Sharon Statement requirement

Read YAF’s statement and Daily Caller report.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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