A conservative student group at a Washington, DC, college has been branded a “hate group” and fears it could lose its funding for refusing to take part in gay, lesbian and transgender-oriented sensitivity training.
Members of the Young America’s Foundation student organization at The George Washington University believe the traditional values they espouse merit a religious exemption from taking part in the training. They are asking the student government to allow them to sit out the LGBT sensitivity training, and a requirement that they use the “preferred pronouns” of the people they address or refer to.
“We are hoping that by voicing our opinion, other groups may follow our lead, resulting in the [student government] taking our request to heart.”
- Amanda Robbins, Young America's Foundation
“We are hoping that by voicing our opinion, other groups may follow our lead, resulting in the [student government] taking our request to heart,” Amanda Robbins, the group’s co-president, told The College Fix.
For now, there are no exemptions from the mandatory training for all sanctioned student groups, which Robbins believes represents intolerance toward conservative viewpoints.
Allied in Pride, a campus LGBT group, told The College Fix Young America’s Foundation is guilty of “intolerance and a pattern of hate” for inviting former Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative Republican, to speak. The group also stated the conservative club’s funding should be revoked.
“The Young America’s Foundation is a political organization, not a religious one, so they cannot seek a religious exemption, and their refusal to use preferred gender pronouns should be considered an act of violence and a violation of the non-discrimination clause required in all GW student organizations’ Constitutions,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.
Young America’s Foundation Vice President Patrick Coyle said on the group’s Facebook page the school must exclude students who disagree with “prevailing leftist ideas that are pushed by the administration, faculty, and other liberal student groups.“
Last year, the school’s YAF chapter’s pro-life cross display was vandalized in an incident its leaders say was virtually ignored by the school.
“The hateful atmosphere that currently exists at The George Washington University will remain as long as the university allows liberal bullies to intimidate and attack students or clubs that dare to express opinions different from their own,” YAF wrote on its page.
Not all conservatives on campus agree with the group’s stance. Alex Pollock, president of the school’s College Republicans, said he would support mandatory trainings that would teach student group leaders how to be respectful.
"Regardless of your views on LGBT people, LGBT people exist," he told the school newspaper, The GW Hatchet. "It should be mandatory from a sensitivity perspective."
Fox News' Tiffany Natale contributed to this report