Photo by Jake Bullington.
BY JAKE BULLINGTON
Student senate approved a total of six motions, including a motion approving Drake’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) as a recognized student group. The Libertarian advocacy group was founded by the party’s champion, Ron Paul in 2008, and claims more than 800 chapters have been established at college campuses across the country, according to their website.
The proposal for organizational status reads that YAL “intends to spread Libertarianism in the greater Des Moines area and Drake campus.” President of Drake’s YAL chapter, first-year Jake Dorsch said that they currently have eight active members, but hope to expand the group through bringing elected officials and candidates to speak to students.
“We had a state senator come by, a house candidate, a couple political activists, everything,” Dorsch said, citing some of the events Drake’s YAL chapter has put on thus far.
Senator Grace Rogers asked Dorsch what he looked to gain from having YAL become an official organization on campus.
“I think that I was kind of annoyed when I first came here, because there’s only Democrats and Republicans represented at Drake University and I believe we need to hear more voices,” Dorsch said.
Dorsch also stated that there are YAL chapters at Iowa State, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Coe College.
There was a consensus among senators about the desire to bring more political ideologies to campus.
Senator AJ Treiber also supported approving YAL for Drake’s campus.
“I think it’s a great idea to have more political discussion on campus,” Treiber said. “Seeing that Iowa kind of leads the nation, quite literally with the caucuses, I think it’s great to have that diversity.”
Although YAL has been inactive at Drake for multiple years, senators were not completely unfamiliar with the organization’s name.
Nearly a year ago, a conservative group called Turning Point USA (TPUSA) came to senate for organizational approval. One of several reasons senate cited for denying this group was allegations that the TPUSA chapter at Iowa State stole contact information from YAL members. There were concerns of student privacy from members, including then-senator Kevin Kane, according to a 2016 Times-Delphic article.
No questions about this concern arose at the meeting. The motion also clearly stated that YAL is a nonprofit organization and cannot endorse any candidates, only “Libertarian ideals and philosophy.”
According to public filings to the IRS, made accessible by ProPublica, YAL is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, classified as a youth development program.
Senate approved the motion, allowing YAL at Drake to become an official organization and to enjoy the “rights and privileges thereof,” according to the motion.