The University of Washington College Republicans filed a lawsuit against their college on Tuesday, claiming the $17,000 security fee school officials are charging them to hold a rally amounts to a free speech violation.
The Republicans have planned an event featuring Joey Gibson, head of the conservative group Patriot Prayer, for Saturday on the Seattle-area campus.
UW counters that most student groups are charged some type of fee when they hold organized events on campus and that the Republicans do not have to pay before the event takes place.
According to KUOW, attorney Bill Becker is representing the group and he is outraged by the fee:
“The university is charging an exorbitantly excessive fee to the College Republicans based on the fear that there will be violent disrupters at this event. No other group to our knowledge has ever been charged anything even close to that amount,” Becker said.
The lawsuit calls the fee “draconian and unreasonable,” and Becker said UW shouldn’t be allowed to pass on high security costs to the College Republicans because their views are unpopular.
The Republicans, who held an event featuring right-wing figure Milo Yiannopoulos last year at one which person was shot, claim in the lawsuit that fee process essentially bans “the expression of conservative viewpoints on the UW Seattle campus.”
University officials counter that many factors are taken into account when setting a fee, including prior history of the group and the invited guests.
Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.
Sign up for the Morning Scoop
Former Astronaut Mark Kelly Will Run for Senate in 2020
If elected in 2020, Kelly will become fourth-ever American astronaut elected to Congress.