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

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Colorado Boulder

After the University of Colorado at Boulder threatened to bill the Students for True Academic Freedom and other CU-Boulder clubs more than $2,000 for security for a controversial event featuring Ward Churchill and William Ayers as speakers, the organizers of the event came to FIRE for help. CU-Boulder spokesman Bronson Hilliard stated that Students for True Academic Freedom would be billed for security partly on the basis of a potentially hostile audience reaction to the speakers. The police security bill was going to be $2,203.42, plus fees for parking and building security. FIRE wrote to the University administration, explaining that requiring student organizations to pay for extra security is unconstitutional because it affixes a price tag to events on the basis of their expressive content. Soon after, CU-Boulder relented, and agreed that there should be no extra security fee for the event.