An undergraduate pro-life group at Yale University has been rejected for full membership in the school’s community-service umbrella organization.
Choose Life at Yale (CLAY) spent the past year as a provisional member of Dwight Hall, an organization that calls itself the “Center of Public Service and Social Justice” and enjoys 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
On the day before the vote, one of the student leaders of Dwight Hall wrote an op-ed in the Yale Daily News that asked fellow student leaders to reject CLAY’s petition for membership. Andre Manuel argued that the vote was not a matter of free speech but of a difference in opinion over the definition of “social justice.” According to Manuel, a group that denies reproductive rights cannot have a claim to an organization that promotes social justice.
It is true that CLAY promotes pro-life activism. For instance, there are annual trips to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. CLAY recently hosted its first annual conference, with focuses on interfaith dialogue, constitutional implications of abortion law, and pro-life feminism.
All of these aspects of CLAY certainly fit within Dwight Hall’s purported mission “to foster civic-minded student leaders and to promote service and activism in New Haven and around the world.” By rejecting the group, Dwight Hall has made clear that its definition of “social justice” — with member organizations ranging from Amnesty International to Students for Justice in Palestine — does not include active service to the community by conservative groups.
While the result of the vote is not surprising, it indicates an increasingly intolerant, conformist leftism on college campuses, one that has no room for any person or group that does not adhere to elite progressivism. This vote is even more telling than, for example, the recent controversy surrounding Brandeis University, in that it comes not from the administration but from a significant swath of students themselves.
— Rich Lizardo is a junior at Yale University. He is the president of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program.