Both the College Democrats and the College Republicans have active chapters on the St. John’s University campus. This year, St. John’s welcomed a new political organization, the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) also known as the Libertarians.
YAL is a national organization that was founded at St. John’s last semester by freshmen Caroline Zottl and Justin Alick, senior Adam Watson, junior Taweh Beysolow and recent graduate James Delmore.
Their mission as an organization is to spread the message of liberty. They have monthly activism events on campus that deal with different subjects such as income redistribution and the New York City soda ban. They are also strong supporters of fiscal responsibility and social tolerance.
The Libertarians say they usually side with Republicans on economic issues and side with Democrats when it comes to social issues. They also do not consider themselves to be political moderates.
Their main goal, Zottl said, is “to have as many activism events as possible and bring as many people to Liberty as possible.”
Zottl, the president for the newly approved St. John’s chapter of YAL, spent her first semester at St. John’s committing herself to starting the chapter and familiarizing herself with the way Student Government Inc. works.
“I’ve been involved in the libertarian movement for about two years,” she said. “When I made the choice to come to [St. John’s] and saw that it didn’t have one, I knew right away that I’d have to start one myself.”
Zottl feels that YAL is perfect for students whose views don’t agree with those of either the Democratic or Republican Party.
“I do think there is a real need for a libertarian student group on campus,” she said. “We have the College Democrats and the College Republicans and they’re great, but there are still many students who feel that those beliefs do not coincide with their own, this is where we come in.”
For Zottl, freedom is a right that affects everyone and it is something that is crucial for young people in this society.
“Freedom is a basic right that has slowly been corroded away,” she said. “Economic and personal liberty is something that affects all of us. The ability to take control of your own life and live it how you best see fit is something I believe all human beings want.”
According to Zottl, YAL currently has about 70 members signed up and 20 members that regularly attend their events.
You can find more information about St. John’s chapter of YAL by liking their Facebook page: Young Americans for Liberty at St. John’s University.