IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 4, 2010
CONTACT: [email protected]; 202-596-7923
Boca Raton, FL–On Wednesday March 3, 2010, at 5:20 PM Florida Atlantic University (FAU) campus officials shut down and called campus police on four FAU students and an alumnus to stop an informational meeting about starting a conservative organization on campus.
James Schackleford, an FAU student, saw a need for a conservative club on campus and decided to start a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter. Shackelford hosted an informational meeting with FAU alum and Florida YAF State Director Daniel P. Diaz to discuss future YAF activities on campus as well as around the state. While Diaz was speaking at the informational meeting, David Blank, a university administrator, asked the group to leave the room. Diaz asked Blank for fifteen minutes to finish speaking and Blank politely agreed to allow the group to finish its meeting. Upon hearing Diaz address the liberal bias on the FAU campus, Blank stopped the meeting again and boorishly ordered the students to vacate the meeting room. Blank the shut off the room lights, tore down the group’s promotional posters, and called the campus police.
Ben Buck, an FAU student at the meeting said, “We were sitting in a peaceful meeting, just discussing a new organization, when we were approached by an administrator asking us to leave based on the content of our discussion regardless of previous verbal permission to talk on public property.”
As the students and Diaz were leaving campus FAU police detained and interrogated the group. Shackelford and Diaz were ordered to drop their meeting materials and to present identification. Diaz asked if they had broken any laws. The officer said, “we are investigating a possible trespassing charge and that is why we need to see your identification.”
Officer Lieutenant Irving of FAU police, the third officer to arrive on the scene, upon Diaz’s request, allowed Diaz to leave and had an officer follow Diaz to his car. As Diaz was leaving, Lieutenant Irving commented to a fellow officer [referring to Diaz] “. . . that guy probably has tea bags hanging out the back of his car.”
Diaz said, “If we were a Marxist, Socialist or Liberal group they would have let us finish our meeting, but the university officials and police harassed us because we are conservatives.” Diaz added, “This was the exact liberal bias on campus that I was discussing in the meeting that these future YAFers experienced firsthand. The university is no longer a place of open discussion and freedom of expression, but a breeding ground of intolerance for conservative beliefs.”
YAF is the nation’s oldest and most recognized conservative / libertarian youth activist organization. Founded on September 11, 1960, in Sharon, Connecticut at the home of William F. Buckley, Jr., YAF is a non-profit organization engaged in advocating public policies and activism consistent with The Sharon Statement. For more information call YAF’s national headquarters at 202-596-7923 or our visit our website at www.yaf.com.
Daniel P. Diaz, State Director, Florida YAF
E-mail [email protected]