University of Arizona: Unconstitutional Security Fee Charged for Speech by University Critic

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Arizona

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.