Boise State University: Unconstitutional Security Fees for Gun Rights Activist's Speech


Boise State University

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FIRE Victory closed

In May 2014, the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Boise State University co-sponsored an event focused on gun rights with two off-campus groups. The event featured a speech by activist and former Supreme Court litigant Dick Heller. Less than 24 hours before the event, Boise State demanded that YAL pay $465 in security fees, or have their event canceled, due to the perception that some non-campus community members had encouraged people to carry firearms at the event — despite YAL’s public statements that Boise State rules prohibiting firearms would be in effect. On July 3, FIRE wrote to Boise State, explaining that the school’s application of its “Event Security” policy affixed an unconstitutional price tag on YAL’s expression. FIRE demanded that Boise State return the $465 fee to YAL and revise its Event Security policy to include objective and viewpoint-neutral criteria so that student groups at Boise State are not threatened with similar unconstitutional fees in the future. On July 17, Boise State said it would rescind its $465 invoice — which had not yet been paid — but would not amend its policies, despite claiming that “[we] take very seriously our duties under the First Amendment.”