Student life has approved a charter for the Young Democratic Socialists of America this semester.
YDSA is the youth section of Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the United States. YDSA is aimed at college youth and Generation Z who share the same beliefs as democratic socialists.
Like most student organizations on campus, YDSA had to go through a process in order to become an official student organization recognized by the university.
“We want our students to be able to, with civility and care, process perspectives politically,” Dr. Ryan Richardson, vice president of student life said.
Every new Student Organization must complete an application on ACU’s website, then the process to get approval begins. The urgency for most student organizations is funding, which is a massive component of being a recognized organization and reserving university resources like rooms and equipment.
“They came to us several months ago and submitted an application,” Richardson said. “Here lies the issue: We have had several student organizations that have submitted applications that are all based on political parties or interests and had to decide as an institution if we are in a position for those interests to be recognized fully.”
ACU asked organizations like ACU Democrats and ACU Young Republicans if YDSA’s beliefs lined up with these already established political organizations on campus.
“The interesting thing about YDSA since they are representatives of a political party that does distinguish them holistically,” Richardson said.
While there is a similarity between ACU Democrats and YDSA, YDSA is aiming to be more impactful on campus as well as creating a more discussion-based club rather than elected leadership talking to the group, said Ben Mercer, president of YDSA and sophomore social work major from Harker Heights.
“It’s an open conversation,” Mercer said. “We don’t use debate at all, we don’t think that is really helpful. We are here to change minds and provide education. Right now we are trying to build our club up and get a foundation.”
Mercer’s plan for the club is to bring in open conversations about issues on campus and in America. There are plans for speakers that include professors and facility members, as well as members of the community.
“People seem to really enjoy our chapels,” Mercer said. “It’s not like people upfront talking to you the entire time. Everyone there is involved and given an opportunity to speak. The chapel is very discussion based.”
Students are encouraged to follow YDSA’s Instagram for updates about the club at @acuydsa.