Student Federation allocated $3,000 to Young Americans for Freedom so the group can bring prominent conservative speaker Ben Shapiro to campus.
Shapiro is known for his no-nonsense attitude and has made headlines for speaking at liberal-leaning colleges.
“Ben Shapiro is a staunch defender of freedom, justice and pursuit of truth – everything Hillsdale stands for,” YAF president and junior Luke Barbrick said. “His big goal is to teach the next generation of Americans the founding principles of America. That’s what YAF is here for, that’s what Hillsdale is here for, so we share a common mission.”
The YAF chapter on campus has worked to bring Shapiro to campus for about a year now, and hopes to bring him in next semester. The club came to the federation for financial assistance with Shapiro’s speaking cost, about $20,000. Through fundraising, YAF was able to raise $1,000. Due to the club’s high activity and success on campus, the YAF national organization gave the chapter $10,000, an unusually high amount to give.
The club asked for $7,500 from the federation, with hopes that this would leave only a small gap for the club to fill through fundraising. The finance committee of the federation only approved $3,000 at the meeting.
The federation was hesitant to give such a large amount since future requests down the line also required due consideration. The finance committee already has three more proposals they will discuss in their next meeting.
Barbrick and YAF are still devoted to moving forward with this event.
“We’re planning to go back to the fed at some point, hopefully this year, and see if we can get some more,” Barbrick said. “We have some plans right now. The students have started writing letters asking for donations and someone is setting up the GoFundMe page. My goal is before we meet with the Student Fed the next time that we can have something to show.”
Although the federation has had a budgetary surplus in the last few years, upgrades and generous disbursements toward campus improvements have required the federation to become more fiscally responsible. Until now, the federation has been spending while the budget has been at a deficit.
Federation Treasurer junior Ross Hatley provided some clarity on why the federation was unable to give the requested amount and how that may be due to the timing of the proposal.
“The YAF proposal is ill-timed for two reasons: it’s coming at a point where we are now conscious that we do have a budget and we’re seeking to maximize the benefits that that budget can bring across a variety of campus organizations. We’ve been very good, and campus organizations have been very good about making themselves more financially responsible,” Hatley said. “We no longer have that brief moment of ‘let’s spend whatever we want.’”
The federation has only about $5,000 of security, according to Hatley, and this comes along with a new method of spending for the federation.
“The second reason we’re in this position is that the federation has been transferring the way that it does accounting,” Hatley said. “It essentially means we pay our expenses up front and we get our income on a semesterly basis. So that means in this fall semester we are in a one-time cash pinch. Once we get past this transition and we rebuild our cash cushion with our successive layers of income, we’ll be able to operate normally.”
As of right now, the numbers for the student federation budget are the smallest they have been in a decade.
However, this does not mean YAF cannot return to the federation and ask for more.
Delta Tau Delta representative and finance committee case officer junior Adam Cieply expressed the opportunity for reconsideration.
“We told them: ‘Come in at the end of the semester, after everything has come through,’” Cieply said. “Maybe we can make the difference that we didn’t give this semester.”
Regardless of the next student federation’s interaction with YAF, the current student federation hopes its assistance will help YAF bring Shapiro to campus.
“The $3,000 was a vote of confidence that YAF will make this work because they’re dedicated to bringing Ben Shapiro and they are dedicated to forwarding freedom on this campus,” Hatley said.
YAF’s request was not the only one granted, however.
Both the Anime club and the Federalist Society asked for full club status approval. The new club approval process usually takes about two semesters. The club first gains temporary status for one semester from the federation and then presents again for full approval the second semester.
Federalist Society President senior Jacob Weaver spoke on behalf of the club at the meeting. Weaver described the many benefits the club brings to campus, such as LSAT prep, discussions on law topics, and assistance on law school applications. The club has about 113 members, with 130 people on their email list.
The second club up requesting full club status was Anime Club. The club meets once a week to discuss and watch anime and consists of around six consistent members.
Both clubs received unanimous approval for full club status.
The federation also passed five amendments, which seek to clarify the standard operating procedures and bylaws, would allow nonofficial clubs to receive Student Fed money, and allow the federation’s Treasurer to view club’s account balances.