Students for Liberty comes to campus

By Brian Bevilacqua

Shaina Mishkin/Daily Collegian

University of Massachusetts senior Nathan Fatal passionately wants to recruit you; for what exactly, he would rather leave up to you.

Fatal, a political science major, wants students to get involved in a political issue they feel strongly about. As leader of the New England Objectivists Society at UMass, he is helping the international group Students for Liberty establish itself on campus in an effort to encourage students to think for themselves and get involved however their mind tells them to.

The child of immigrants who left Portugal, “a strictly socially repressive society that left them and my grandparents no educational or career opportunities,” Fatal always felt strongly about asserting individual rights and freedoms. He started the New England Objectivist Society as a space where students can discuss and develop their personal philosophies on life in order to decide how to get engaged in the issues that they find important. Fatal is now stepping back from his first group and bringing a new group, Students for Liberty, on campus to work with multiple groups, including the UMass Gun Club and Cannabis Reform Coalition.

Several student activists from UMass and other Five Colleges have already aligned themselves with the organization.

SFL is a worldwide, non-profit political group based in Washington, D.C., working with thousands of supporters to protect what they see as the freedoms of personal choice that are attacked by politicians from all parties and educating students about individual rights. They work with many colleges, and wanted to extend support to UMass through Fatal.

Fatal, along with SFL representative Daniel Morris, held their first meeting on campus two weeks ago and were recruited 11 UMass students to go to the SFL conference in Boston Nov. 2, and expect their support to grow as they introduce themselves to more student groups.

“Students for Liberty is not a fringe group. They have something like 98,000 likes on Facebook. They are on every continent, in places like Brazil and Nigeria,” said Fatal of his experience bringing the popular political organization to UMass. “The general campus community is unaware of us right now, but we are being well received when we meet students and groups like the CRC.

“They equip student leaders to defend the rights of students. It’s not partisan and does not align with the Libertarian party. They are about principles and networking to promote them,” added Fatal, saying that his belief that Students for Liberty is right for young thinkers and right to replace his work on campus. “They do what I try to do, give students the intellectual ammo to question the status quo.”

According to Fatal, the ideas of SFL touch on several issues on campus right now. Fatal is strongly opposed to the smoking ban, wants to encourage students to exercise their Second Amendment rights and believes people need to be more willing to question the political and economic ideas that teachers promote, especially in regard to people’s opposition to capitalism. Fatal recalled being mocked for all of these beliefs, especially his support of capitalism, and wants people to have a more open mind.

“A lot of people’s ideas are taken on political faith because they are unwilling to question what teachers and politicians have taught them,” Fatal said, “My life belongs to me. Why can anyone limit what you do with your life as long as you do not use other humans as a means to your ends?

[Students for Liberty’s] work in places like Venezuela and Africa, where there are truly no rights, inspires me,” he said. “If they can stand up to their government, so can we.”

Brian Bevilacqua can be reached at [email protected]

Nov. 5, 4:40 p.m. editor’s note: Some phrasing was changed to avoid confusion as well as corrections to a few quotes attributed to Nathan Fatal.