Temple University: Unconstitutional Security Fee for Geert Wilders Presentation

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Temple University

  • Temple University tacks on last-minute fee for free speech event

    January 20, 2010

    Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ trial over his controversial remarks about terrorism and Islam begins today in Amsterdam. Not to miss an opportunity to bathe themselves in irony, Temple University decided to hop on the “tamping down on free speech” train by charging an after-the-fact “security fee” for an event featuring Wilders that happened in October. During the event, Wilders showed a short film which featured various passages of the Koran interspersed with scenes or descriptions of Islamist-perpetrated violence. Extra security was dispatched and no disturbances occurred. One month later, the host club, Temple University Purpose, received a bill from the […]

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  • Temple Student Government Backs Down from Discriminatory Funding Policy

    September 21, 2010

    Temple University’s student government has backed down from a viewpoint-discriminatory funding policy for student events. Temple Student Government (TSG) had told all student organizations that speakers who are “offensive”—or not “inclusive” and “friendly”—would not be funded. A student government leader also stated that the new rule would “not be found in any documents, but will be enforced by the [allocations] committee.” Less than 24 hours after the student group Temple University Purpose (TUP) challenged the policy with FIRE’s help, the policy was rescinded. On Saturday, September 11, 2010, at a meeting for student organization leaders, TUP President Alvaro Watson was […]

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  • Temple University Chills Expression in the Wake of Geert Wilders Event

    April 12, 2010

    Temple University’s irreconcilable actions regarding a student group that brought Dutch politician Geert Wilders to campus have left students utterly in the dark about what Temple will do the next time a controversial speaker comes to campus. Temple unconstitutionally charged the group, Temple University Purpose, for extra security after the event, but after FIRE intervened, Temple claimed that it could have charged the group thousands of dollars more. Temple arbitrarily offered to withdraw the extra fee, then unilaterally withdrew it. In its latest letter, Temple merely states that the matter is closed and makes no promise to ensure that controversial […]

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  • FIRE’s Third Letter to Temple University

    March 18, 2010

    March 18, 2010 Valerie I. Harrison Associate University Counsel Temple University 300 Sullivan Hall 1330 West Berks Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122-6087 Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (215-204-5804) Dear Ms. Harrison: Thank you for your February 8, 2010, response to FIRE’s letter of January 26 regarding the unconstitutional fee levied against the student group Temple University Purpose (TUP) to defray extra security costs for the October 20, 2009, presentation by controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders. While we are pleased that Temple University has withdrawn the bill for this event, it is disappointing that Temple has failed to acknowledge the legal […]

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  • Temple waives security fee for Islam critic’s speech

    February 12, 2010

    by Susan Snyder The Philadelphia Inquirer Temple University has withdrawn the security fee it charged a student group that hosted controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders in the fall. The university waived Temple University Purpose’s $224 fee after receiving letters of protest from the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Temple associate counsel Valerie Harrison noted in a Jan. 21 letter to FIRE that security for the Oct. 20 event had cost the university more than $6,000, all of which it could have passed on to the student group. In a Feb. 8 letter, she told FIRE that the university […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech at Temple University As Unconstitutional Security Fee is Withdrawn; Policy Still Troubling

    February 11, 2010

    After two months, Temple University has withdrawn an unconstitutional, after-the-fact security fee levied by the university on a student group for hosting a presentation last October by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is on trial in his native country for his controversial remarks about terrorism and Islam. Temple, which at first defended the fee and argued that it could have charged the group, Temple University Purpose (TUP), over $6,000, dropped its demand for an extra security fee only after FIRE publicized the fee and pointed out that the school’s actions were arbitrary and unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Temple’s policy for controversial events remains […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech at Temple University As Unconstitutional Security Fee is Withdrawn; Policy Still Troubling

    February 11, 2010

    PHILADELPHIA, February 11, 2010—Temple University has withdrawn an unconstitutional, after-the-fact security fee levied by the university on a student group for hosting a presentation last October by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is on trial in his native country for his controversial remarks about terrorism and Islam. Temple dropped its demand for an extra security fee under pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Temple’s policy for controversial events, however, remains ambiguous and unacceptably arbitrary. “Temple University has finally acquiesced to the First Amendment and has accepted that, unlike in the Netherlands, controversial speech is protected in […]

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  • Temple’s First Amendment Problems Are Nothing New–And One Student Is Still Paying the Price

    January 27, 2010

    After reading about FIRE’s latest run-in with Temple University, Sergeant Christian DeJohn of Wyncote, Pennsylvania—erstwhile student in Temple University’s Master of Arts in Military and American History program and member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard-could hardly hide his frustration. That’s because Christian is all too aware of Temple’s struggles with free speech on campus. In fact, Christian is still suffering as a result of the last time Temple tangled so seriously with the First Amendment, even though the court case that bears his last name is now cited across the country as a landmark victory for student free speech. […]

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  • Temple Misunderstands First Amendment Obligations, Continues to Seek Extra Security Fee from Student Group

    January 27, 2010

    Temple University has addressed FIRE’s concerns over the university’s decision to charge $800 in extra security fees for a presentation by controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders this past October, hosted by the student group Temple University Purpose (TUP). Unfortunately, in her January 21 letter—arriving the day after FIRE’s press release criticizing the action—Temple Associate General Counsel Valerie I. Harrison confuses binding Supreme Court precedent, reveals an arbitrary decision-making process, and misrepresents TUP’s “request” for extra security as giving Temple carte blanche to pass the cost of security for the event on to the group. FIRE responded yesterday with a second […]

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  • Temple University Case on CPNLive

    January 22, 2010

    I was on Talk to Solomon on CPNlive.com last night discussing FIRE’s case at Temple University, which charged an unconstitutional security fee to a student organization for an appearance by controversial Dutch legislator Geert Wilders. The discussion also covered FIRE’s work more generally, including a discussion of FIRE’s case at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), which once found a student-employee guilty of racial harassment because of the cover of a book he was reading. (Click here for our video on the IUPUI case: Political Correctness vs. Freedom of Thought—The Keith John Sampson Story.)

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  • Temple University Charges Unconstitutional Security Fee for Geert Wilders Event; Dutch Trial Today over Controversial Expression

    January 20, 2010

    Today, as Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ trial begins in Amsterdam over his controversial remarks about terrorism and Islam, there is an American angle to the case: Temple University students have been charged an unconstitutional, after-the-fact security fee by Temple for hosting a presentation by Wilders last semester. The student group, Temple University Purpose (TUP), turned to FIRE for help after being charged the fee, and is being met with silence after a Temple official promised to look into it. Wilders’ trial in the Netherlands would be unconstitutional in the United States thanks to the First Amendment. As Robert notes in today’s press release, […]

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  • Temple University Charges Unconstitutional ‘Security’ Fee for Geert Wilders Event; Dutch Trial Begins Today over Controversial Expression

    January 20, 2010

    PHILADELPHIA, January 20, 2010—Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ trial begins today in Amsterdam over his controversial remarks about terrorism and Islam. While such a trial would be unconstitutional in the United States thanks to the First Amendment, students at Temple University in Philadelphia are nevertheless facing an unconstitutional, after-the-fact security fee levied by the university for hosting a presentation by Wilders. The student group, Temple University Purpose (TUP), has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “Temple University needs to realize that, unlike in the Netherlands, controversial speech is protected in the United States,” said Robert […]

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