Appeal of Security Fee

By on March 3, 2009

From: Sean W. Daly
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 8:20 PM
To: Julie Marianne Wong
Cc: [REDACTED]
Subject: Request Regarding CU Police security fee Waiver

 

Dear Vice-Chancellor Wong,

 

I am writing to you on behalf of the Forbidden Education: The Rise of

Neo-McCarthyism event scheduled for March 5th at 7pm in the Glenn Miller

Ballroom. This letter is in regard to the SAFE meeting which occurred on

Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at 4pm in UMC 305, UCB.  Specifically, I am

writing in reference to the extra costs required  by the SAFE meeting as

necessary for confirmation of this event. We find the requirements for a

full patrol police security somewhat excessive and potentially impairing

to our financial ability to host the event.  At an average of $65.00 per

hour, for 6 officers, for 6 hours, it comes to $2,340.00.   It is my

understanding that there may have been some resolution of this issue

since the February 17, 2009 meeting.  However, given that the University

has not provided us with any documentation on this issue, we would like

our position to be on record. Furthermore, we received an email which

seems to indicate that the CU Police plan to bill our group for the

event immediately afterwards.

 

We will not be making money from this event.  The primary reason for

introducing ticket sales is to reimburse the sponsoring referendum

student groups for a small fraction of the costs associated with the

event. As of 4pm March 3rd only 84 tickets have sold.  The excessive

security (CU Police) costs would not only prevent us from covering some

of our event costs, it also would require our groups to pay considerably

more than we have currently budgeted for event security, which is less

than $700.00. Our original budget estimate is on-file with the Student

Organization Finance Office.  The additional police costs alone will

almost certainly count against any money we save from ticket sales, and

likely push the whole event over our current budget.  While our student

groups have not heard anything directly from the top of the CU

administration regarding this event, and can only guess how their

motives would affect policy, it would seem to only help the case of CU

lawyers in the upcoming lawsuit if our student groups were to cancel the

event due to costs associated with unreasonably high security

requirements, resulting in less public attention to the issue.

Furthermore, the somewhat excessive costs for security is hindering our

ability to advertise for and put on the event, which we see possibly as

punishment and also threatening the event’s budget in such a way that

could be construed as a restraint of our speech, as we discuss bellow.

 

Derrick Jensen spoke on campus without any CU security staff for the

Student Environmental Action Coalition February 29th, of 2008.  Dr.

William Ayers spoke on campus without any CU security staff  December

14th 2006 for the 180 Degree Shift at the 11th Hour.  Ward Churchill has

spoken in the Glenn Miller Ballroom several times, in addition to other

areas on-campus, sometimes without any CU security.  At least on one

occasion, on February 8th 2005, the Administration security was provided

by City of Boulder Police without any fee.  We do not believe that the

University should change the fee this time because it regards the

speaker as “controversial” or because all three are in the same room at

once.

 

Our reason for choosing the Glenn Miller Ballroom was partially

based on the fact that the University Memorial Center has a security

team that is effective, yet more affordable and less intimidating to the

public than regular CU police. We believe the presence of the UMC

security staff will be sufficient for the performance of necessary

security tasks such as checking bags and monitoring doors. We also have

8 volunteers who will be escorting our guests and providing a function

similar to security for the speakers themselves.  For example, with one

security concern, our position, as was Ward Churchill’s in 2005, is that

our personnel have the capacity to escort our speakers to and from their

vehicles safely.  We originally planned to have the Event in Glenn

Miller Ballroom to avoid CU Police security rates, by using UMC

security.  Now, it seems, we will have both.  Would we have been

required to have 14 CU Police (to make up for the lost 8-11 members of

the UMC security team) if this were held in a smaller venue (like Chem.

140) that does not have a local security team on campus?

 

We welcome free speech and a diversity of opinions.  This

comports with the UMC’s Mission and Diversity Statement which states

that “[a]s the heart of campus, the UMC provides an atmosphere of

inclusiveness that allows for free and open exchange of ideas, as well

as the development of significant relationships and understanding

between all cultures in the university and the community at large.”  The

appearance of this event to the media and the attendees is important not

only to the cause of academic freedom and critical thinking, but to the

image of CU as well.  I am confused by the comments in Mark Heyart’s

previous email that the current projection of security cost, “does not

include what would ultimately be needed if protesters are

anticipated…”.  I should think that leafleting and holding signs

should be encouraged, and not penalized, as it would contradict our

encouragement of and belief in free speech.    We would like to avoid a

repeat of the media criticism from events at Florida State University

where protesters who were leafleting were escorted from the premises.

 

The removal of non- and minimally disruptive protesters would reflect

badly on the University of Colorado, portraying it as intolerant and

biased toward the left.  Having additional security guards to handle

additional non-disruptive protesters seems to be meant to intimidate,

and not necessarily provide security, as those who would mean disrupt

the event would probably try to get into the event secretly and without

open criticism at first.

 

In a later email, Mark Heyart contradicts his early comments by

mentioning that his security allotment decision is also not based upon

the number of attendees present, and that the security was mainly

necessary for question and answer sessions, not outside protests in the

protest area.

 

Therefore, we believe that the presence of an entire patrol of

CU Police (in addition to the UMC security) would be expensive,

intimidating, and bad for public relations.  First, we respectfully ask

that the number of CU Police be lessened, perhaps replaced by just a

couple of free City of Boulder Police if necessary. If full CU Police

presence is mandatory, contrary to the wishes of the student group

sponsors, organizers, and the speakers themselves, then it would be only

right that the CU Police cover their own costs from their own budget or

that the costs be covered by some other administrative budget source.

 

From what we gather, On April 29, 2008 former terrorists (Walid

Shoebat and Kamel Saleem) brought to CU by the College Republicans were

part of an event which did pay a CU Police fee.  (I don’t know exactly

how much or how many CU Police that they had.)  Now, they were funded

under the well-endowed Cultural Events Board (run by our student

government), but we are funded solely by student group money. Our

student groups have received our money from victorious referenda

campaigns and furthermore, because of various student-fee funding rules,

we are not allowed to use the Cultural Events Board to get money.

Furthermore, rather than a counter-example to our argument, the case

proves the point.  The CU Security fees were increased according to the

level of controversy, which has no legal justification.  Since student

groups are hosting the event, using student fees to cover all expenses,

the CU Police are actually charging on top of the normal fees that are

taken from student tuition, parking fees, and tax dollars, to cover

police protection for every other day of the year that they are on duty.

 

 

We would appreciate a response to this letter at your earliest

convenience, and look forward to further discussing this issue and

planning a safe and constructive event together.

 

With Respect,

Yours Earnestly,

-                      Sean Daly

 

Senior History Major, Undergraduate

 

Students for True Academic Freedom

The 180 Degree Shift at the 11th Hour

Student Environmental Action Coalition

 

http://www.180degreeshift.org

 

Download file "Appeal of Security Fee"

Schools: University of Colorado at Boulder Cases: University of Colorado at Boulder: Prohibitive Security Fee Charged for Controversial Speakers