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This post is part of a new “Student Spotlight” SFL blog series in which we honor the best and brightest student activists in our network by highlighting the top student, group, and event of the week and share their accomplishments to inspire other leaders to step up their game in advancing the cause of liberty. 

Congratulations to Sean Cannon, Dustin Lane, and everyone else involved with YAL at University of Texas for being chosen as SFL’s Group of the Week! Learn more about their group from Sean Cannon:

In YAL at UNT, we  have a variety of leaders doing different tasks. Dustin and I are President and Vice President and we oversee our general activities. Aaron Baca is running a Students for a Stateless Society group that meets once a month during our SFL meetings, Kaitlyn Lamb is managing our drug policy initiative which meets once a month, and our Activism/Innovation coordinator Alex Anderson executes various ideas on what to for activism on campus in addition to running social media outlets.

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One of our speakers for the upcoming 2015 ISFLC on February 13th-15th will be Rob Kampia!

Rob Kampia co-founded the Marijuana Policy Project in 1995 and has served as its executive director ever since. Rob is the architect of most of the state-level marijuana laws that have been enacted in the United States since 2000: Most importantly, MPP legalized marijuana in Colorado in 2012. As a result, Colorado has the best marijuana law in the world. MPP decriminalized marijuana possession via a ballot initiative in Massachusetts in 2008. Since then, MPP passed similar laws through the Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maryland legislatures. MPP was also instrumental or entirely responsible for legalizing medical marijuana in Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia between 2000 and 2014. Rob has provided fiery testimony before Congress twice, as well as testifying before nine state legislatures. Rob has been quoted in almost every newspaper in the United States and regularly debates prohibitionist opponents on national television, including on CNN, the Fox News Channel, the Fox Business Network, CNBC, and MSNBC.

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As Halloween approaches, many of us play with one of humanity’s most primal emotions: fear. We go to haunted houses, watch horror movies, and generally seek thrills, terror, and shocks. Fear can bring us exhilaration and adrenaline rushes. It can provide a bonding experience between friends or lovers. It can set a mood for a festive season with zombies, costume parties, and candy. That’s the fun side of fear.

But fear also has a dark side, particularly when filtered through perverse political incentives. When crises or disasters happen, the public is prone to panic. Their fear is then further fueled by media sensationalism, and exploited by politicians and bureaucrats to give dangerous new powers to the state.

We saw this process in action after the 9/11 terror attacks. After the attacks, the American public’s trust in the federal government dramatically increased. Meanwhile, the government used 9/11 to claim authoritarian powers and launch two aggressive wars in the Middle East: Wars that continue to this day. Congress passed the PATRIOT Act, authorizing indefinite detention of immigrants, secretive “sneak and peek” searches, and warrantless searches known as National Security Letters.

These powers were granted in the name of national security and fighting terrorism. But rather than being used against terrorists, these powers have largely been wielded against people who commit victimless crimes. For example, 76% of sneak and peek warrants between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010 were used for drug cases, while only 1% were used for terrorism cases.

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On February 13-15, 2015, over 1500 students from over 25 countries will gather at the Marriott Wardman Park Exhibition Hall in Washington D.C. for a weekend to learn from contemporary leaders in liberty, discuss best practices for promoting freedom on campus, and to get more involved in the larger liberty movement.

The 8th annual International Students For Liberty Conference will feature incredible speakers like Yeonmi Park, who was just named one of the Top 100 Global Women by BBC, President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist, Congressman Jared Polis, Russian journalist Vera Kichanova, and Rob Kampia, who helped lead the charge for marijuana legalization in Colorado.

Register by this Friday, October 31st, before prices go up! Current early bird prices are only $20 for general attendees, $10 for students, and free for international students, West Coast students, and Alumni For Liberty Members. On November 1st, prices will increase to $35 for general attendees and $20 for students.

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This post is part of a new “Student Spotlight” SFL blog series in which we honor the best and brightest student activists in our network by highlighting the top student, group, and event of the week by sharing their accomplishments to inspire other leaders to step up their game in advancing the cause of liberty.

Congratulations to SFL’s student of the week, William Smith! He is a junior at the University of Colorado Springs working on his Bachelors of Innovation degree in business information systems with a cross core in engineering, a specialization in computer science and a minor in American Sign Language. Will is also the Chapter Chair of UCCS Young Americans for Liberty and a member of Spectrum, the gay straight alliance on campus.

How did you find about SFL?

I found out about SFL through Michael Mangin who I met during our campus’ club fair back when I was a freshman. I saw the world smallest political quiz and knew that it was the club for me. After attending the 2012 Colorado RC, I became interested in SFL and after the 2013 ISFLC, I knew that I had to apply for the CC program and be a part of the organization.

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