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Young Americans for Liberty

Young Americans for Liberty

East Carolina University

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Youth Leadership School, CPAC, and ISFLC Trips!!!!

February 4, 2011, The ECU Young Americans for Liberty took a trip to Wilmington to be a part of the Youth Leadership School (YLS) at UNCW. The YLS is an intense, lecture-based program that young students can go to to get information on how to participate and run campaigns and also get some info on how to properly recruit and set up a table on your campus. This was a weekend trip and included about 7 of our members. For the most part everyone got some useful information and enjoyed the trip. There were some ups and downs, but overall it was a good experience for our club.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011, We left on our journey to CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). It was a long 5 1/2 hour drive, but we made it! Our trip started out really great; we made it to the hotel, got settled then went out for some fun before the big start to the conference the next morning. Thursday, we walked over to the conference site and got registered. We got to see many people that we haven’t seen in a long time; since working with them for YAL state level stuff. Throughout the trip we got to hear many different speakers; some of those are: Bruce Fein, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Tom Woods, and even Donald Trump. A few of us even got to meet some of the speakers personally. CPAC was very informative and all of us had a blast hearing the people speak! Here’s some photos of the speakers!



Before leaving D.C. we took a trip to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It was just a time for us to unwind and enjoy some educational fun. Here are a picture from that little adventure!

February 18, 2011 two of our members went back to Washington, D.C. for the ISFLC (International Students For Liberty Conference). Matthew Blackmon, president,  and Cindy Strickland , secretary left Friday morning on the adventure to meet hundreds of liberty minded people! There were over 500 people present at this conference. The conference was very informative and gave lots of opportunities to hear people speak on many different topics. It was a laid back atmosphere with so much to listen to and learn about! The Students for Liberty team really did an awesome job with this conference. VERY enjoyable!

For more pictures visit our fansite: http://www.facebook.com/ecuyal

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SGA Senate Passes New Harassment Policy Reform

The Undergraduate Student Senate Passed unanimously a new Harassment Policy Resolution drafted by Matthew Blackmon on February 14th, 2011.  The resolution in question was 3 pages long and identified various holes in the current harassment policy, including no provisions to include several other federally protected status’s beyond racial, ethnic, and sexual as categories for discriminatory harassments. The resolution further takes reference to harassment as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the case Davis V. Monroe County Bd of Education. This case importantly drew the line between free speech and harassment which was the reasoning behind ECU’s yellow rating placed on our harassment policy by the Foundation for Individuals Rights in Education (FIRE).

The resolution makes changes to the harassment code by defining discrimination and harassment and rewording the language of the current policy to be more generalized in terms of discrimination, but more specific in terms of what constitutes harassment.

This bill is important because it alerts others to the issue of how to define harassment in academia where the rules are different than the workplace, which is ECU’s current policy model. Education requires more emphasis on free speech, which can be controversial, but not harassment in an institution of higher learning.

While there hasn’t been a problem with it yet, proactive measures to reduce the University’s liability in the future should be appreciated.

The text of the Resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS our current harassment policies on campus are the Racial and Ethnic Harassment Policy and the Sexual harassment Policy, AND
WHEREAS the Racial and Ethnic Harassment Policy fails to include other federally protected Statuses, AND
WHEREAS individuals can be singled out and harassed for other reasons other than racial, ethnic, or sexual, AND
WHEREAS our current Racial and Ethnic Harassment Policy states that “the university recognizes that the free and unfettered interchange of competing views is essential to the institution’s educational mission, and that the peoples’ right to express opinions is guaranteed by the United States Constitution”, AND
WHEREAS our current definitions of racial and/or ethnic harassment are as follows:
1) Singling out people because of their race or ethnic affiliation and subjecting them to unequal or unfair treatment.
2) Harming, attempting to harm, or threatening to harm people because of their race and/or ethnic affiliation, AND
WHEREAS the United States through the Congress and Supreme Court have bounded discriminatory harassment as the following:
Physical and verbal conduct that

(a) Discriminatory defined as being directed at an individual because of the individual’s age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status; and

(b) harassment as being sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to substantially interfere with the individual’s employment, education or access to University programs, activities and opportunities.
AND
WHEREAS DAVIS V. MONROE COUNTY BD. OF ED. (97-843) 526 U.S. 629 defined that harassment must be “sufficiently severe or pervasive” and is broader in protection of our First Amendment rights to expression that may be unpopular but nevertheless protected than our currently defined harassment policy, AND
WHEREAS the University’s harassment policy retains a narrower scope defining only race, ethnicity, and sex as grounds for harassment, while there are many more grounds for discrimination defined by law established by but not limiting to the following:
• Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (age)
• Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (ancestry, color, national origin, race)
• Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (sex, gender identity, sexual orientation)
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (disability)
• Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (disability)
• Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (Veteran’s Status)

WHEREAS definition offered previously in light of US law defines harassment more clearly as against an identifiable individual or groups of individuals, rather than a more abstract collection (i.e. an entire race or creed) AND
WHEREAS our currently defined policy does not clearly state a severity and pervasiveness requirement in light of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of harassment, AND
WHEREAS harassing conduct must not only be evaluated in from the victim’s perspective, it must also be evaluated from the perspective of a “reasonable person” in the victim’s position, thereby enabling a subjective and objective assessment of the conduct in question, AND
WHEREAS the subjective and objective assessment is a position maintained by WHEREAS DAVIS V. MONROE COUNTY BD. OF ED. (97-843) 526 U.S. 629, AND
WHEREAS ECU’s sexual harassment policies originated in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines regarding sexual harassment, which has a focus on work performance and working environment, AND
WHEREAS our current policies, although they serve a proper business function, are not well suited in the educational setting which restricted constitutionally protected expression rights, AND
WHEREAS a number of universities have harassment policies that are more in lined with Federal Level regulation, including the University of Virginia, AND
WHEREAS East Carolina University is a public institution, and not a private workplace, accepts Federal Funding, and
WHEREAS our Public Status entitles all members of the University Community to guaranteed First Amendment Rights outlined in the Constitution, and
WHEREAS our current policy can lead to students being prosecuted over protected forms of speech, while leaving legitimate and illegal forms of harassment undefined in university policy, THEREFORE
BE IT RESOLVED that the Racial and Ethnic Harassment Policy be amended and renamed to “Discriminatory Harassment Policy”, AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Section I Rationale be amended as follows: “The faculty, staff, administration, and students of East Carolina University maintain that it is important to create an atmosphere in which instances discriminatory harassment are discouraged. Well-publicized policies and procedures such as these will help to create an atmosphere in which individuals who believe that they are the victims of discriminatory harassment are assured that their grievances will be dealt with in a timely, confidential, fair, and effective manner. Toward this end, all members of the university community should understand that discriminatory harassment violates university policy and will not be condoned. Members of the university community are encouraged to express freely, responsibly, and in an orderly way their opinions and feelings about any problem or complaint of harassment prohibited under these policies. Any act by a university employee or student of reprisal, interference, restraint, penalty, discrimination, coercion, or harassment against a student or an employee for using these policies responsibly interferes with free expression and openness and violates this policy. Accordingly, members of the university community are prohibited from acts of reprisal against those who bring charges or are involved as witnesses or otherwise try to responsibly use this policy.“ AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Section II be and amended and renamed to “Discriminatory Harassment Policy”, AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Section II subsection B be amended as follows:
Definitions. The following constitute discriminatory harassment:
1. Physical and verbal conduct that is directed at an individual because of the individual’s age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex (including Pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status; and

2. Unwelcome conduct directed against a person based on one or more of that person’s protected characteristics or statuses, which conduct is so severe or pervasive that it, interferes with an individual’s employment, academic performance or participation in University programs or activities, and creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.
Be it further resolved that Section III subsection C be amended as follows:

Policy. It is the responsibility of members of the university community to strive to create an environment free of discriminatory harassment.
• C-1. It is against the policies of East Carolina University for its employees or students to single out and discriminate employees or students of the university and subject them to unequal or unfair treatment.
• C-2. It is against the policies of East Carolina University for its employees or students to discriminate employees or students of the university or visitors and subject them to conduct defined as harassment.
AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that our Sexual Harassment Policy be dropped in favor of our Discriminatory Harassment Policy.

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Federal Reserve Banking has even those in academia fooled.

My experience at a recent philosophy club meeting had a shocking conclusion. Everyone involved, from the professors to the students were ignorant of one fact: The Federal Reserve was not a gov’t institution. After a lengthy discussion on classical liberalism, its evolution into present day liberalism and how to confront the problems of society (namely, public works and social welfare) we got on the subject of banking. It appeared that most of my peers were in favor of some type of gov’t intervention in the private marketplace and were adamant that regulations be in place for this or that, or that eminent domain be practiced, lest we fail to have roads, airports, and schools. Arguments for the marketplace were fought back by these philosophers as stating that they drive our jobs overseas. When asked if socialism attracted jobs, it was stated that socialism takes care of its own in society. That left the question of which style of gov’t attracted jobs, but that was left out of question. The idea that the banking system which had grown in america was responsible for sending jobs overseas gradually lead down into the discussion of the actual banking system. To my surprise one of my peers began discussion the federal deposit insurance corporation as if it was an arm of the gov’t. I abruptly stopped them and exclaimed that the Federal Reserve along with the FDIC were private institutions with private shareholders with no accountability to anyone in gov’t. The room fell silent. I briefly discussed after that how the federal reserve creates money out of thin air and how all of that is loaned out into the economy where the money supply is the principle and where our gov’t is responsible for the principle and the interest.

This presentation however, made me realize that ignorance of our monetary system is far wide and no one really understands the details of how our money comes into existence or why it retains value. While my presentation on classical liberalism may not convince anyone that a free market place is superior for the consumer than a centrally managed one on paper–its clear that those in favor of a managed economy are very wary of a managed economy that is completely private and secret as our Federal Reserve is.

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The Making of Signs!

Originally we began making signs for the Martin Luther King march, but because of weather we knew the signs wouldn’t hold up. But we didn’t give up, we continued making our beautiful signs so that we could use them for the Walk for Equality. Making the signs was a lot of fun. We got to talk and be really creative.

Last week we had our first two meetings of 2011! We had a pretty good turn out, about 10 people! We had some great discussions about our goals as a group and how to recruit more members. We also did some event planning; you will see these events detailed later in the semester!

So here’s a few images of the signs we made!

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Second Relay for Life fundraiser!

Our second event for Relay for Life was a donation-based event where those who donated received our Tyranny is a Cancer/FTP stickers (Fight the Power) created by our Outreach Coordinator David Price.  These were so popular that even a cop got one!  We finished that day passing out flyers warning students about the dangers of the TSA (YAL’s pedobear flyers were a stunning success on our campus).

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Berlin Wall Event!!!!! :)

Recently, we helped co-sponsor a speaker with the ECU GLBTSU, and My Voice.  The speaker, Gaye Adegbalola, spoke about gay rights and civil rights to students and shared some of her music as well as stories growing up during the 60s when civil rights were a constant topic and comparing and contrasting the differences with the gay rights movement.

The next day, we set up a table with a huge wall that students could personalize with whatever they wanted to say.  We had posters educating students about the 10 planks of communism, as well as a few other posters with witty sayings such as Ronald Reagan’s famous quote “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Wall Setup

Celebrate your Freedom Featuring ECU YAL President Matt Blackmon

Students Writing on the Wall

Rachel Posing!

Wall at the end of the day!

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Halloween festivities and Individual Rights!!

Our group also had a Halloween social following our outdoors activities that featured guest stars Obama, the Refreshenator, V for Vendetta/Zorro, and a Border Patrol Guard!  The group had tons of fun becoming the figures we talk about so much in our meetings.  This event proved the all too familiar saying of “People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House.” – Robin Williams

Here’s a pic!

V, Border Patrol, Refreshernator, and Obama

On November 4th we showed our support for individual rights at a GLBTSU Vigil held in honor of the students who had committed suicide as a result of aggression and coercion by peers in high school and colleges around the country.  The school newspaper and Channel 9 News were there for the event and both remarked about the signs we had (though failed to give us our due credit).

The East Carolinian wrote “Some people came with signs that read ‘Gay rights are individual rights,’ ‘Liberty and justice for all’ and ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”

Channel 9 News caught some of our posters, but we were unable to get recognition for our posters on the actual video.

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Recruitment, YLS, Ron Paul signatures and our exciting nature trip!!

As the month of September ended with many strategic meetings to build a community and the officers planned new events, we also were able to help engage liberty at the state level by cooperating with our State Chair in his initiatives.  We also received our Operation Politically Homeless kit, which we put to good use near every time during our normal tabling schedule.

Operation Politically Homeless Kit in Action!

Next, three of our four executive board members attended the Youth Leadership School that was available in our state.  We heard lectures from our own Jared Fuller (YAL Southeast Director) and Craig Dixon (our State Chair) This would later prove invaluable to our future state level cooperative efforts.

One of the future state level cooperative initiatives was a Ron Paul petition drive where students at NC STATE UNIVERSITY were petitioned for signatures to bring Ron Paul to campus.  ECU came during the NCSU v. VT game and we petitioned many students.  Collectively we gained 1300 signatures as a whole in one day!

ECU YAL President Matthew Blackmon enticing Signatures from NCSU Tailgate

Check out the others who worked so valiantly that hot day!

Here Jesse Mignogna, our Founding "Father" and Rachel Pickens, ECU YAL Treasurer score more signatures!

Our next event was a nature trip to enjoy the environment and talk about property rights and their importance in the struggle with those who would put environmentalism over property rights.   We went canoeing!

Canoing in Beautiful Greenville!

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Excellent Recruitment, a visit from Dr. Mike Beitler, & Constitution Day!

East Carolina University YAL has been quite active this semester engaging students with a number of activist events as well as having many events to build a community of liberty within the organization.

ECU YAL Meeting!  Several more are not shown in this pic, and more came in afterwards.  Liberty is becoming fairly popular on our campus!

The semester started with only four returning members (the officers) — all other members had graduated.  Early on we planned on taking advantage of tabling and recruitment days on campus.

Our recruitment day event was a resurrection of the classic Wake Forest “Stop Spending our Futures” water bottle giveaway.  This proved to be ultra-effective and despite having competition on our reserved table from the Republicans and the campus greens, we were able to recruit more potential members with our enthusiasm and creativity.  This event employed a huge 118 can capacity cooler filled with ice and relabeled (and laminated) bottles of water and a of course a hot summer day.

Our next event was a voter education drive which we educated students that elections were occurring this year and that much was on the line.  Dr. Mike Beitler came out to this event and had a chance to engage students and faculty.

Dr. Mike Beitler and ECU YAL President Matthew Blackmon

This week would end with a Constitution Day activity in which we gave out scores of Constitutions we received in our Constitution kit.  We competed with the school’s feeble attempt to give out Constitutions and many students remarked that the complexly folded sheets of paper with 8 point font were not as desirable as our booklet style.  This event proved to be such a success that membership rose as dramatically after this event as it did after recruitment day.

Constitution Day Activity: The East Carolina University YAL enthusiastically celebrated this year’s Constitution Day.  The group exchanged cookies, cup-cakes in return for trivia knowledge of the constitution.  Once a student gave a piece of information about the constitution (name a right, answer a question about the articles, etc) they received a baked item and a Constitution.  Some students wanted to stay and chat about the direction of our nation, others entered into a raffle to win a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

We also featured a large depiction of the Constitution, but instead of having the original words, this Constitution featured many of the violations of the Constitution that persist today.  These engaged students into debate and discussions about the founding values and their importance in today’s society.

The group also received praise from the SGA and History department for being the only politically minded organization to do an event along side them.

Below are pictures from the event:

The Constitution Gangsters

The gang gathering together!  Featured from left to right are Treasurer Rachel Pickens, Secretary Cindy Strickland, Events Coordinator David Price, Member (in back) Chris Thomas, and on the right President Matthew Blackmon.

Matt enticing converts

Matt Entices Students with a Constitution

Students interested in Liberty!

Matt pitching his schemes to prospective freedom fighters.

Overall, Constitution Day was a great success.  Students were enthusiastic about receive Constitutions and many remarked that YAL’s were of a “lasting quality” when compared to the pocket Constitutions from the SGA.

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Activism and Banding Together

Hello FREEDOM FIGHTERS!

As the summer comes to an end, I want to remind you all that the fight for LIBERTY will always be a never-ending fight while we stay put and allow our government to grow at our expense.

Let’s start this year strong and really come TOGETHER for the cause of LIBERTY! I have a grand vision for this year and I need YOUR help to realize it.

This year is a year of transition for our club, therefore more than ever we need to come together to DEVELOP our consciousness of the issues of today, SPREAD the message of LIBERTY , and ACTIVELY FIGHT against tyranny developing around us!

That’s why this year I plan on DOUBLING our efforts and will be reaching out to more groups. We have received pretty much RECEIVED our Young Americans for Liberty chapter recognition (YALiberty.org) and I will be receiving further training from them when I travel to DC from August 12-16.

When I return I will be holding meetings TWICE a week, and meetings will be held BI-MONTHLY, once on TUESDAY and once on WEDNESDAY to accommodate as many schedules as possible. Club Meetings will begin the Second week in September, and will be held the Second and Fourth Weeks of each month until the semester lets out (time and location TBA). Officer meetings will begin weekly beginning the first week in September, time is TBA.

People are free to attend either meeting or both. Officers will be having meetings once a week, and all officer meetings will be open to anyone to attend to observe.

Top things on the agenda for this semester:
* Cooperating with other clubs to spread the message
* Elections forum (as we did previously)
* Real liberty candidate Speakers
* Club Sponsored Trips to liberty conferences
* Campus/Grassroots level activism (Spreading Literature, holding debates, etc)
* Year Round recruitment efforts

I hope YOU will join me in the DEFENSE of LIBERTY this year!

sincerely,

Matthew Blackmon
President, ECU College Libertarians/YAL

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