Young Americans for Freedom club aims to diversify campus dialogue

From+right%2C+Cage+Englander+talks+about+the+democratic+debates+from+the+previous+night+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+21%2C+2019%2C+in+the+Campus+Center+at+City+College+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+%22We+are+not+trying+to+change+minds%2C+we+are+trying+to+change+dialogue%2C%22+said+Englander.+
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Young Americans for Freedom club aims to diversify campus dialogue

From right, Cage Englander talks about the democratic debates from the previous night on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in the Campus Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

From right, Cage Englander talks about the democratic debates from the previous night on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in the Campus Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. "We are not trying to change minds, we are trying to change dialogue," said Englander.

Jesus Villafranco Perez

From right, Cage Englander talks about the democratic debates from the previous night on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in the Campus Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. "We are not trying to change minds, we are trying to change dialogue," said Englander.

Jesus Villafranco Perez

Jesus Villafranco Perez

From right, Cage Englander talks about the democratic debates from the previous night on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in the Campus Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. "We are not trying to change minds, we are trying to change dialogue," said Englander.

Lucy Marx, News Editor

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The Young Americans for Freedom does not want to change students’ minds — but change the dialogue on campus.

The club is based under the Young America’s Foundation and was founded by current chair Cage Enlander last semester. 

With around 30 active members, “the chapter’s been doing really well,” said Englander. 

After its start last semester, the club hasn’t seen much pushback from students or administration. 

“Students on campus are a lot more reasonable about politics than people assume,” Englander said. 

The club serves mostly as a social setting for like-minded people to discuss politics and hold events such as bowling nights and pool parties. 

Now the chapter is up and running and Englander’s primary goal is to make sure the club doesn’t get lost in the weeds without him.

“The main goal is to make sure this club won’t go anywhere,” he said. 

The club meets weekly to discuss politics and current events and aims to change the dialogue on campus.

“I think a lot of the complaints on campus… have been extremely unfounded and extremely naive… I’ve never seen anything racist on campus.” — Cage Englander

“It’s a feather in the college’s cap that such a thing can happen,” said Mark McIntire, a retired part-time City College instructor and conservative radio show host.

McIntire attributes the group’s achievements to Englander’s leadership. 

“I’m continually struck by his emotional balance,” said McIntire. “He stands up for his own ideas and beliefs.”

Many members feel the club offers a space to freely discuss their thoughts on politics and social issues without fear.

“It’s a nice place to vent,” said club member Truman White. “Here, everyone’s on the same page.”

Despite this, the club still allows for differing opinions. 

“I don’t agree with everyone on everything,” said club member Michael Biancone. Still, he said, “it’s a chance to talk to people who I share like-minded opinions with.”

The club, with help from YAF, is planning to host conservative writer and commentator Elisha Krauss on campus for a lecture next semester. 

The event was originally scheduled to be put on shortly before Thanksgiving break but was pushed due to technical issues. 

In recent years several colleges across America have faced backlash from inviting conservative speakers on to campus, but Englander isn’t worried about the prospect of protesters.

“I think it shows kind of a cowardice,” he said. “I think it shows a lack of willingness to have a dialogue.”

Some members believe inviting conservative speakers will allow for more conservative views to be discussed.

“Whether or not people protest I don’t mind,” said Englander. “We’re on opposite sides of the spectrum but we’re all good people here.”

Englander and other club members believe the campus is one of fair opportunity, and that racial inequity isn’t an issue. 

“I think a lot of the complaints on campus… have been extremely unfounded and extremely naive,” said Englander. “I’ve never seen anything racist on campus.”

Club members pride themselves on having diverse opinions, but there are some issues they can strongly agree on: The support of the constitution, the belief that the government should be less involved and “the protection of unborn life,” Englander said.

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