University of Massachusetts Amherst: Student Group Charged Unconstitutional Security Fee for Controversial Speaker

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Boston College University of Massachusetts – Amherst

The Republican Club at UMass Amherst was pressured to accept $444.52 in extra security fees by the university’s police department after it became known that students were planning to protest and disrupt its lecture event featuring conservative columnist Don Feder. Though the Republican Club reluctantly accepted the fees, the speech was nonetheless disrupted by protesters, and Feder was unable to finish his lecture. After pressure from FIRE, including a column in The Boston Globe pointing out that forcing groups to subsidize the activities of their protesters is unconstitutional, the UMass Amherst administration relented and relieved the group of the extra fees, though it deceptively claimed it had originally assessed the extra fees because of a larger expected audience than originally anticipated for Feder’s lecture.