Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Students for Liberty comes to campus

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.

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  • N

    Nathan FatalNov 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    @observer, you made a number of factual errors and haphazard assumptions there. I did not say that Africa is a country. I’m sure you can give me credit for being less ignorant and apathetic than the average college student, and I would appreciate if you at least took a less condescending tone than what you took, especially since it was based on the faulty premise that I thought Africa was a country. I mentioned Africa as a whole because its political context, overall, is a much more difficult one to work with than is that of the US. Also, this is a misquotation which I specifically addressed the Collegian about. The fact that I was misquoted is not your error and I agree and understand why it was incorrect. Indeed, I believe that everyone has rights and that it is up to us to define and defend them. I was also misquoted when it says “any political stance”, for reasons you acknowledged, among others.

    By the way, SFL is certainly not partisan, and is a very large organization. Information about the 750+ organizations in their network and the charter teams that have been established on every continent, their 30 North American/European/African/Latin American/Brazilian/International conferences, their enormous network of partner organizations and capacity to distribute resources, and everything else about SFL that you are apparently not aware of, is available on their website.

    As in any intellectual endeavor or exchange, you should check your premises and sources before you attack a writer or his subject. I am not taking an us vs. them stance here – I am only correcting you on specific areas where you were incorrect and acknowledging where you are correct.

  • G

    Genghis KhanNov 5, 2013 at 8:12 am


    Doubtless he will be excoriated. After all, Liberaterians want to take over the country, and then leave people alone to make their own decisions and then live with the consequences.

    Leftists want to take over the country and Rule. Because they’re so much more enlightened and know better for you than you do.

  • O

    ObserverNov 5, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Wow, so people setting up new student clubs is front page news now? Is this a slow news day or what? The article makes it sound like SFL is some kind of particularly large international organization, but it’s absolutely tiny compared to some other organizations that also have student branches at UMass – like, say, the College Democrats or the College Republicans or Model UN or Habitat for Humanity… Why don’t they get their own news story? I bet they brought more than 11 students to their latest conference, too. Even the International Socialist Organization easily beats that number.
    Also, a word to the article writer: SFL has a very clear ideological stance (as mentioned by the people you interviewed, they are a libertarian organization), and so they don’t just want to “get students involved in any political issue they feel strongly about” or “leave it up to you” what you’re being recruited for. They certainly wouldn’t support students being passionate about gun control or universal health care or greater state funding for public education, for example. This isn’t a generic let’s-get-people-involved group. They are every bit as partisan as the Republicans or the Democrats, except that they don’t have a big party that matches their views.
    And a word to this Nathan Fatal: Africa isn’t a country. And I’m pretty sure they have rights there. Some people even fought for them. There was this guy called Nelson Mandela, you might want to look him up. But he was only in one country, because Africa actually has many of those. And they’re all different and people have different rights in them. It’s amazing what you can learn from books these days.