Sunday, September 23, 2007

MSU YAF To Sue SPLC Over "Hate Group" Classification?

Michigan State University's chapter of Young Americans for Freedom made national headlines last Spring when the Southern Poverty Law Center placed them on their Intelligence Report's list of hate groups, making them the first ever university-recognized student group to be so "honored."

What did they do? According to deputy director of the Intelligence Project, Heidi Beirich, MSU YAF was investigated after "its November protest of a Lansing ordinance to prohibit the harassment of individuals based on criteria including race, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. ... During the protest, several members held up signs with slogans such as "Straight Power" and "End Faggotry."

That, plus their proposals to end funding for minority student organizations, and establish an all-white student council, all but sealed the deal. MSU YAF was classified as a General Hate group, which put them alongside the likes of the Jewish Defense League, Resistance Records and the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.

Needless to say, they weren't thrilled. Their Adviser, William Allen said "It is evident to any fair observer that YAF does not deserve to be on this list ... Unfortunately, the standards Morris Dees adheres to clearly no longer apply in the work of what has been a highly valuable organization with exacting integrity."

YAF Chairman Kyle Bristow was less charitable, calling the SPLC "disgusting" and extremely "left-wing," and hinting they "might file a lawsuit for character defamation."

As of last week's YAF meeting, that lawsuit seems to be in the works. According to YAF Watch, a blog set up to monitor MSU YAF, David Holthouse of the SPLC tried to join the meeting, only to be told he wasn't welcome.

David Holthouse approached them for an interview for his article. He was told by Kyle that YAF was going to be suing the Southern Poverty Law Center and he had been advised not to speak to them. He also claimed it was a private meeting and threatened to have the cops called.

Does MSU YAF have a case in this case? Possibly. It wouldn't be unlike them to say that it's not fair for minority students to get funding and recognition for minority specific groups if White students can't get the same thing. It also wouldn't be unlike them to say that, if White Students can't get the same thing, then maybe minority students shouldn't either. Those are two points which can be made philosophically, without being hateful or prejudiced. And those are points which YAF as a whole has been making for years.

But that would stand only if the Court was willing to overlook the "end faggotry" signs MSU YAF was employing, along with the tons of evidence pointing to what appear to be skewed racial and religious views, and open prejudice against homosexuals, that all but litter the Spartan Spectator - MSU YAF's blog. It's almost as if they can't help but shoot themselves in the foot?

This one's definitely developing.


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