The independent Young Socialist League of James Madison University, Harrisburg Virginia, was founded in 1996, and chartered shortly thereafter with the Democratic Socialists of America to become the Young Democratic Socialists of JMU (YDS-JMU). YSL (and subsequently YDS-JMU) was founded by disaffected members of the Young Democrats, assorted leftists, anarchists, progressives, feminists, Gay rights activists, and radical democrats (little "d"). Launched after frustration with the Democratic Party and the rightward-shift of liberalism, the progressive students found a home with YDS.
In just one short year, the Young Democratic Socialists of JMU grew to become the third-largest DSA Youth Section Chapter and the second largest political group on campus (eclipsing the College Democrats and the Young Libertarians).
- YDS-JMU is a feminist, anti-racist, democratic, Socialist organization. Our projects have ranged from prison reform and non-violent drug legalization, to fighting the militaristic and homophobic R.O.T.C. on campus and taking on the racist I.N.S.
1998-1999 Executive Council of YDS JMU
- General Secretary, Josh Cohen
- Moderator, Michael Key
- Corresponding secretary, Mike Jurka
- Director of outreach, Aaron Smith-Walter
- Treasurer, Justin Stoltzfus
- Office manager, Dan Hammel
- SGA Reps. Patrick Horst, Mike Parris, Michael Key
- At large officers, Amy Naff, Jill Kapple, Aaron Smith-Walter, Leah Rosenwaller, Mike Parris, Lamar Jones, Kristan Garvan
- Faculty advisor, Dr. Bruce Busching
In 2005 Michael Key reported that D.C. Metro YDS had their first Organizing Committee meetings in early January. Their first project was the Inauguration Day protests.