The University has not banned Democrats from campus. Nor has the Democrat club been banned from meeting. And, never has the University or its' officials said that a person cannot be a Christian and a Democrat. Sorry for those who want to run with these titillating soundbites, but these are the facts.The President of the formerly recognized Young Democrats, Brian Diaz, offered his own thoughts on the incident. Diaz begins with the short history of the formation of the group and thank supporters, from around the state, for their thoughts; it has raised their spirits. Money quote:
But in all of this sadness, it seems as if we have been making progress! In our first email from Mark Hine, Liberty University VP of Student Affairs, he informed us that we would not be able to meet on campus, and now it has changed otherwise. At first, they did not want to work for a compromise and now they want to do just that.
Although we have been making progress with the Liberty University administration in our request to reinstate us as a club, their offers are not enough. We wish to be fully reinstated as if we were in the first place. We wish to advertise, hold events, hold meetings, and have free speech, without the administration having a hold on our organization, or its actions.
We want freedom.
To point out, Diaz believes that Hine kicked them off campus, per the original email, but Falwell seems to disagree; in his mind, they were never kicked off campus, rumors spread by the media. In due fairness to both, the infamous email says that recognized clubs are allowed to meet on campus, distribute materials, advertise for advents and use campus facilities, implying that an unrecognized club is not allowed to meet on campus. In this light, and in response to Falwell, Jan Dervish, a club officer, writes this in an op-ed:
In addition, it is our understanding that Liberty banned Democrats from conducting any activities on campus. Vice President Hine’s email clearly stated that “Student clubs or organizations must request and receive permission from the Liberty University administration before they may meet on campus, advertise, distribute or post materials, or use any University facilities for their activities or events.”
We hope to resolve this dispute as soon as possible, and we are currently in communication with the chancellor to allow us to once again be recognized while acknowledging and respecting the University’s mission.
"Liberty University is a tax-exempt institution and isn't allowed to support one party over another," [Executive Director, Barry] Lynn said. "If the school insists on pushing policies that favor Republicans over Democrats, it should have to surrender its tax exemption."
But Lynn said campus political clubs often endorse and work on behalf of candidates, amounting to an in-kind contribution. By allowing students to support only one party, Lynn said the university appeared to be taking sides.
"As a tax-exempt institution, Liberty is barred from intervening in elections or showing preference for one political party over another," Lynn said in a letter to the IRS. "By banning a Democratic club while permitting a Republican club to exist and offering funding to the latter but not the former, university officials appear to be operating in violation of federal tax law."
Falwell argues that the Young Democrats weren't "banned" but that they revoked its official recognition.