In April 2009, the University of Arizona College Republicans planned to host an event featuring conservative writer and activist David Horowitz. Shortly before the event, however, the group was informed that it was necessary to host two officers at the event for security, due to Horowitz’s controversial views. The College Republicans agreed to host the officers, and the presentation was given without incident. Soon after, however, the UA Police Department sent the College Republicans a bill for $384.72 to pay for the security. On June 10, 2009, FIRE wrote University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton to point out that any requirement that student organizations hosting controversial events pay for extra security is unconstitutional because it affixes a price tag to events on the basis of their expressive content. On July 1, the police department informed the College Republicans that the university would absorb the full cost of the security.
Victory for Freedom of Speech at University of Arizona: Refund of Security Fee for Controversial Speaker
July 6, 2009
Today’s press release announces yet another FIRE victory on behalf of a student group unfairly burdened with the cost of bringing controversial speakers to campus. Late last week, FIRE learned that the University of Arizona was reversing its decision to charge the College Republicans $384.72 in extra security fees for an event featuring author and conservative activist David Horowitz. As FIRE has reminded America’s universities time and again throughout our ten-year existence, charging speakers or their student hosts for extra security fees solely because they may provoke hostile reactions from audience members affixes a price tag to protected speech and […]» Read More