University of Washington Sued Under Policy For Demanding $17,000 In “Security Fees” For Conservative Speaker

download-7The University of Washington  has been sued by the schools College Republicans after it demanded the payment of $17,000 in security fees for the planned speech of Oregon activist Joey Gibson of the Patriot Prayer group. The lawsuit raises an important free speech question in whether schools can effectively bar conservative speakers by insisting that free speech is not free in a financial sense.  The imposition of prohibitive costs on groups like the College Republicans is facially neutral but potentially discriminatory in practice based on the content of speech. It also creates a system that indirectly supports “the heckler’s veto.”


The “Freedom X” law firm filed the complaint below alleging that the security fees are an infringement on free speech and an effective tax.

The university points out that security fees for an event in January 2017 for conservative Milo Yiannopolous ran  to more than $70,000 between UW police and Seattle police.  The event produced violent protests broke out in Red Square, including one person who was shot.

The problem is that this system give a perverse incentive for protesters to make conservative speakers prohibitively expensive.  The more violence and trouble that groups cause, the more money sponsors will have to pay.  As a result, groups will not be able to invite speakers opposed by these groups.
Both cities and colleges are supposed to be forums for free speech.  It is not a luxury for which you pay a user fee.  Those groups like Antifa are the ones causing disruptions and interfering with free speech.  However, officials are allowing these groups to shift the costs to those who are the targets of their protests.  To make matters worse, as I have discussed in prior columns, Antifa is founded on an anti-free speech philosophy and these schools have given these groups an obvious way to silence groups and speakers under the false pretense of neutrality.


30 thoughts on “University of Washington Sued Under Policy For Demanding $17,000 In “Security Fees” For Conservative Speaker”

  1. Content bias.

    The only reason why any university would fear property damage or violence when a conservative speaker is invited, is because the extremists on the Left are violent and destructive when they hear that an opposing view might be spoken. Instead of simply voting with their feet and not listening to what they clearly are not mature enough to handle, then they throw dangerous tantrums. This ploy is quite successful, because inexplicably, instead of simply having any violent or destructive protestor arrested, the schools capitulate, and blame the victims.

    I did think that universities were a place of reason, where different ideas could be vigorously debated, and no one needed protection for opposing views. I was utterly and completely wrong, apparently.

    It is also interesting to note that ultra Liberal and Progressive speakers do not fear violence or property damage, or getting shouted down, or barred from speaking.

    What do these actions tell you of the behavior of the Left vs the Right? One side appears able to tolerate the existence of the other’s opinion without smashing things. Which is it?

    Of course, extremism ruins everything, and that is true of Libertarians who turn anarchists, and Republicans who become extremist, as well. It is indisputable, however, which extremists are running the educational show across the nation.

  2. “Nothing in the law or its application prevents the official from encouraging some views and discouraging others through the arbitrary application of fees. The First Amendment prohibits the vesting of such unbridled discretion in a government official.”
    ~Forsyth County, Georgia v. The Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123 (1992)

  3. It is time for “A March On Washington!”. Don’t pay. Show up. Howl and rant. Bring your guns. If the pigs get out of line then shoot.

  4. The entire campus should be a free speech zone, for all points of view. To depart from this philosophy is heading down a very dangerous slippery slop.

  5. Are we talking about the First Amendment right to free speech, or are we really talking about the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble? Seems like most of the time it’s the right to peaceably assemble that’s being attacked by an unspoken spurious argument that it means the right to assemble where some other group is already assembled.

    Constitution or no, the laws of physics won’t allow two objects to occupy the same space. Do they teach physics at law school? Are lawyers nothing more than people that couldn’t get accepted into the science programs at universities? — the way journalists are people that first flunked out of everything else, including English.

    Why is this such a difficult problem to solve? Sue under the right to assemble and the laws of physics. I don’t know the case law regarding the right to assemble, but legal precedents abound concerning the laws of physics.

  6. The concept of a university is to make available information-learning and exchange concepts, ideas, etc. The university is obligated to control its environs. There should be areas allocated to ‘free speech’ secured and apart from the areas allocated for teaching, studying, and research. These areas must be secure. Either the university charge any and all presenters of opinions the cost of security or pay for it as a part of the ‘exchange of ideas’ part of the ‘university experience’. Those that protest and do so without taking away the rights of the presenters to express themselves (inciting violence is not free speech) should be removed by security and dealt with under the existing laws.

    Making one group or another pay for heightened security and not another is a bias that should not be found in any university regardless of the make up of the student body philosophy(s).

      1. Jim22

        You opened up this set of issues; therefore I will let it rip. You state that I make sense; which really means that you agree to some degree with what I wrote. Therein lies the rub. On the one hand you pigeonhole me by identifying me making sense only when you agree; which is a result of the polarizing of opinions in this nation of free speech and democracy. That is to say, Issac is a-fill in the name of the side however you wish-yet he makes sense sometimes. Instead of this condition where one is allowed a place on one side or the other yet occasionally ‘makes sense’, the true democracy, what our fore fathers designed is where there is really no side, only issues where when those that agree agree for their reasons and those that disagree for their reasons are not polarized on one side or the other but revolve around the issue as the planets, some closer and some further away. It’s a forest and trees thing mostly but a tree is an issue is a tree. Let that sneak up on you.

        If a people were to be focused on the issues they would have to spend more time with themselves and the issues which is vastly more difficult than simply signing on to a side with its slogans, cheap rhetoric, lies, exaggerations, and hats. America is a lazy nation when it comes to governing itself. She is well behind her peer nations when it comes to the individual knowledge of the issues. She is way out ahead when it comes to ‘ideology’ and partisan perception. That is evident in her not supporting more than two opinions, one more than that of a dictatorship.

        So, Issac makes sense, sometimes?

        1. “You opened up this set of issues; therefore I will let it rip. You state that I make sense; which really means that you agree to some degree with what I wrote.”

          Naw, he’s just noting your fleeting lucid interval.

  7. Why was $70k in security costs necessary? Because someone was speaking, because some people were listening, or because some people put lives and property at risk? This shouldn’t be that difficult to determine who should be held responsible for the costs. That is of course assuming one is actually interested in the equal protection of rights.

  8. Ouch i forgot to include the reason which is wondering if students who wish to learn could sue for having their education interrupted by the disruptors.

  9. Well iI suppose as long as they burn down their own campus there is not much loss an BLM won’t show up as there are no liquor or big screen stores.

  10. Economics is not as useful tool as it used to be with the government taking the place of he parents traditional role in paying for education.

    At one time parents were asked why they were paying to send their offspring to U of Oregon which then taught them how to destroy the parents livelihood that paid the freight. This caused many to send them other schools.

    Now with government directly involved with all but two institutions of higher any rate higher in rates education they can, on their own, run up excessively priced loans and then attend a class on how to ‘not pay’ what they owe.

    A resulting drop in morals and values followed with professors to busy writing publish or perish books to teach putting off that odious chore to graduate assistants.

    A check a few years ago at a nearby Umiversity showed one required book might cost as much as my entire full load of texts from the mid sixties. and the number of volumes required per class were average three all of which could be returned for half price credit end of term. None of them were significantly different in content but each was written with some number of editions by the local teaching staff.

    One could almost smell the word RICO when the used books were available for one tenth and contained no discernible differences except publishing date.

    Not a fair sampling I suppose but ….the entire system did not operate under fair or real marketing practices.

    i then discovered the wonders of no charge classes on the internet.

  11. Based on the ridiculous nonsense emanating from some of the more “progressive” colleges, I would bet that the administration itself actually favors censoring these fellow travelers of the alt-right klan-lite bozos who marched in Charlottesville. However, even the real klan gets to exercise free speech at the college, once it’s been transformed into a public forum, a fact which the colleges seemingly don’t know about or don’t care about. The remedy is a big financial hit at trial. Once one of these wrongfully-censored loser groups wins a large settlement, perhaps the First Amendment will be recognized again. Sadly, there was a time when the ACLU would have been all over this one…

    1. If Soros sniffs a dollar to be made or a vote gfained he will maically appear and be all over it in his role as the Godfather of ACLU.

  12. I suggest they round up the protesters and charge them $250 each to protest. They do this right at the beginning and get photo IDs. Also, no masks on campus, it is not Halloween. And thirdly, security actually does its job, which it didn’t do with Milo. There they just stood and looked around and took a paycheck.

    1. Oh, no, Paul. They have an unfettered right to speak their minds with police protection and yada … yada … yada. The speaker — not so much.

  13. Free speech is a term applicable to the words uttered. To charge a person to speak freely sort of contradicts the Free Speech words. Perhaps the vendor sites should call such events : Fee Speech. The University of Washington could have free speech events on its border. Free Speech advocates could rent a parking lot or a theatre. The best place would be a parking lot covered with large rocks which can be thrown at cops or state militia. The folks who attend could wear bear outfits and carry signs promoting The Right To Arm Bears.
    Kids under age 18 could bear BB guns and all the adults could bear semi automatic rifles.

    1. All you need to know about that school is the nickname used to be Udub and is now Dubya

  14. Good article! It is unfair to impose the cost on people who are simply exercising their First Amendment Rights. Maybe if the schools have to start chewing the costs of SJWs and Antifa, they will shut them down from rioting.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. is there such a thing as the right to an education? Funnily enough no there is not. Rather like secret ballot such a thing does not exist in the constitution. Why not? It was so taken for granted in the 1780s the space was used for more imiportant issues.

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