Youth for Western Civilization disbands as student group
Youth for Western Civilization is no longer a student group at Towson University, according to former YWC President Matthew Heimbach.
The group’s faculty adviser, mass communication and communication studies professor Richard Vatz, wrote a letter to Heimbach saying that he would no longer be the group’s adviser. With no adviser, the group is not able to be Student Government Association affiliated.
Heimbach said he received an email soon after from SGA President Matt Sikorski verifying YWC’s disaffiliation.
“They put so much pressure on our adviser and that caused him to drop out,” Heimbach said. “We can’t be on campus without an adviser, so they found a loophole. It was bad. It’s been an interesting ride.”
SGA President Matt Sikorski said that he felt there was no pressure put on Vatz and that the YWC was given a reasonable amount of time to find a new adviser. He said he first heard about YWC losing their adviser by word of mouth.
“We sent the letter on March 13, and essentially it notified them that they didn’t have an adviser,” Sikorski said. “We said they had until March 30 to find a new one and to report to us when they do. If not, they’d loose all privileges of being SGA affiliated. We have to make sure all groups are following what all groups have to follow.”
Vatz said he spoke with Associate Vice President for Campus Life Terri Hall and Vice President for Student Affairs Deb Moriarty about YWC before writing the letter.
“They [YWC] were using rhetoric in their arguments that I found were not appropriate,” Vatz said. “In my dealings with Deb Moriarty and Teri Hall pertaining to issues arising with this group, I found them [Hall and Moriarty] to be extremely professional and reasonable.”
In his letter, Vatz said that he attended the March 8 Unity in the Community Campus Forum discussion, which lasted for several hours, and had two concerns:
The letter states that “except for Black Student Union president Kenan Herbert, there was no one who expressed the slightest concern that YWC had been threatened, harassed and mistreated on campus,” and “no one sympathetic to YWC expressed the slightest concern regarding YWC’s frightening rhetoric, referring to political opponents as ‘cancer,’ using the words Islam and Muslim disparagingly, and referencing ‘disgusting degenerates that make up our opposition.’”
“I’m sorry, but that is not how impressive and serious conservatives argue their case,” Vatz said in the letter. “I realize that I have been your adviser only nominally, but I cannot in good conscience advise a group that attacks people or groups personally or tactlessly or does not recognize their dignity and the value of dignified argument in the marketplace of ideas.”
Heimbach said recent chalking incidents put YWC back in the spotlight.
“Chalking that I wasn’t directly involved in played a part. We found some of our freshman doing stupid stuff. My guys are basically angry and sad that they basically killed the group,” Heimbach said.
At Tuesday’s SGA meeting, President of the College of Libertarians Jordan Brooks said Heimbach had approached him about joining the College of Libertarians. Brooks agreed that former YWC members had the right to join the College of Libertarians and noted that they had a right to have their own beliefs, but was worried that they could have an impact on who they wanted in power.
Sikorski said he had talked with Brooks concerning this matter. At the meeting Tuesday, Sikorski said SGA affiliated groups can’t deny any students that want to join their group because part of a student’s tuition goes toward the SGA, but noted that he had talked to Brooks about actions to take so a situation like that wouldn’t occur.
If YWC members wanted to still unite, it would be possible, but they would not have any privileges or benefits that SGA affiliated groups have.
“SGA affiliated groups are the only ones that can rent space on campus,” Sikorski said. “But if I wanted to make a group with 10 others who like clouds, then we could essentially meet in the Den and just meet to talk. That’s what it means to not be affiliated.”