The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
I just learned earlier today (I write this late Wednesday Pacific time) that there will indeed be a debate on free speech on March 21 between political scientist Charles Murray and University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks: The University of Miami VP of Student Affairs Office, the Office of the Provost, and the University of Miami School of Law have agreed to cover the security fees for the debate.
I'm very glad that the University authorities (including the law school authorities) agreed to do this. As I understand from my past conversation with the Dean of the law school, the University policy for controversial student-invited speakers is to require the student group to raise the funds for security costs, but to let the students seek the funds from, among others, University authorities themselves, which can in their discretion provide some or all of the funds. I'm not wild about such discretionary schemes, since they tend to deter student groups from inviting controversial speakers. But in this instance the University has done what is needed to let the event go forward, and it deserves credit for that.
The Dean told me that the Federalist Society paid for part of the costs of the event; but the student chapter of the Federalist Society, which is organizing the event, tells me that the Federalist Society is not covering any part of the security fees. I infer that what's happening is that the Society is covering Murray's transportation costs, honorarium, and the like, as is usual for Federalist Society speakers, and the University is covering the security fees.
For more on the controversy about the debate, see this post.