When Ryan Cooper sought recognition for a campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) from the student government at Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU), the undergrad hoped that SMSU officials would give YAF the same privileges that groups such as Students United for International Peace (SUIP) enjoy.
The student government did indeed grant the local YAF chapter recognition. The day after the recognition vote, the student government president, Rafiel Warfield, vetoed the measure approved the day before, which effectively gave YAF recognized status for 24 hours.
In a conference call with Accuracy In Academia (AIA), Warfield and student government vice president Andrea Smith explained the action. Their explanation took many twists and turns, like a story changing with every question and answer. “He indicated that he and his group had no intention of abiding by university rules,” Warfield explained to AIA. Warfield and Smith made clear, more or less, that they were referring to statements and actions made by Cooper at student government meetings.
When asked to specify the rules Cooper would not abide by and the statements and actions he made that indicated he would not comply, Smith volunteered, “He flipped people off at the meeting.” When asked to supply witnesses who had seen the gesture, or better yet, photos of the act, Warfield chimed in, “He assaulted people.” AIA sought clarification to determine whether the assault was a physical attack and Cooper actually hit another student. Instead, Warfield and Smith changed the subject again.
The search for casualties proved to be unavailing. When Warfield was asked to urge the victims of the assault to call AIA to relate their stories, Smith came back on the line. “Well,” she said, “he muttered things under his breath.” Here, too, the trail of evidence went cold: Smith could not identify precisely what those “things” were.
Warfield and Smith also noted in passing that Cooper had left school. AIA asked if they meant that the university expelled Cooper. When pressed for details, Smith finally conceded, “Well, he may have left school for a day.”
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