Controversial Young Americans for Freedom leader resigns
MSU’s Young Americans for Freedom chairman Kyle Bristow announced his resignation via e-mail Sunday night after leading the organization for more than 18 months.
The resignation was “100 percent my decision,” Bristow said in a phone interview.
“I always had the full support of the group,” he said, adding that there hasn’t been any recent controversy that could have forced a resignation.
“If I was hypothetically going to be kicked out, I would have been kicked out during the controversy, not right before spring break,” he said.
Bristow’s said in the letter sent to members Sunday that past chairmen of the right-wing group held the year for a year, “so my year-and-one-semester reign is unique.”
Bristow organized several controversial speeches during his stint as chairman, bringing British National Party Chairman Nick Griffin, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., and Minuteman Civil Defense Corps President and Co-Founder Chris Simcox to MSU’s campus.
Under Bristow’s leadership in April, MSU YAF was the first college organization placed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.
MSU YAF members Matt Ogonowski and Eric Thieleman will replace Bristow as co-chairmen.
Although he said Bristow did a great job as chairman, Thieleman said he and Ogonowski want to create their own legacy with MSU YAF.
“We haven’t decided what we’re going to do exactly,” Thieleman said. “We’re still talking it over. But we don’t plan on cowering away now that (Bristow) is gone.”
Scott Hendrickson, president of MSU Democrats, said Bristow’s resignation may tone down the group’s voice on campus.
“Kyle Bristow has been the driving force behind that group,” he said. “I can only imagine that there aren’t nearly as many people left on campus with as much radical zeal as he had, so I doubt you’ll be hearing as much from that organization.”