Campus Free Speech

Court Bars Univ. of Washington from Charging College Republicans $17,000 Security Fee


From College Republicans v. Cauce:

The College Republicans have organized a "Freedom Rally," scheduled to take place in Red Square on the afternoon of Saturday, February 10, 2018, and to feature Joey Gibson, the leader of the controversial, conservative political group Patriot Prayer. Based upon factors including the time and location of the event, the estimated number of attendees, and the responses at prior events featuring Mr. Gibson and Patriot Prayer, the UW has determined that the Freedom Rally requires enhanced security, including the presence of additional officers from the UW Police Department. Pursuant to its Security Fee Policy, the UW seeks from the College Republicans an estimated $17,000 as reimbursement for its security costs. The UW does not require that the fee be paid in advance, but will calculate and assess the total amount owed following the event…. Based upon the pleadings filed at this stage in the proceedings, there is no dispute that

Red Square is a limited public forum…. In a limited public forum, restrictions on speech must be reasonable and viewpoint neutral. A reasonable restriction is one that is "based on a standard that is definite and objective." A viewpoint neutral restriction is one that does not suppress speech "merely because public officials oppose the speaker's view." The Court finds that the Security Fee Policy is neither reasonable nor viewpoint neutral.

First, the Security Fee Policy fails to provide "narrowly drawn, reasonable and definite standards," and thereby gives administrators broad discretion to determine how much to charge student organizations for enhanced security, or whether to charge at all. See Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992). As in Forsyth, UW administrators are "not required to rely on any objective factors," and "need not provide any explanation for [their] decision[s]." Instead, administrators "must necessarily examine the content of the message that is conveyed, estimate the response of others to that content, and judge the number of police necessary to meet that response. The fee assessed will depend on the administrator's measure of the amount of hostility likely to be created by the speech based on its content."

Apparently, the $17,000 fee assessed upon the College Republicans reflected the UW Police Department's estimate that the Freedom Rally would require 24 officers over 4.5 hours, at an hourly rate of $157.52 per officer. While the Chief of Police offers a lengthy discussion of the "objective facts" he considered (e.g., the fact that Mr. Gibson was assaulted and pepper sprayed at recent rallies, the fact that Patriot Prayer has "members who have engaged in open carry in the past," etc.), nowhere does he explain how these facts support his determination as to the number of officers needed. Nor does he identify the "open-source websites" that the UW Police Department referenced to corroborate information about the event. On this record, the Court cannot conclude that the estimated $17,000 fee is the product of a "definite and objective" process.

Second, the Security Fee Policy directs administrators to assess fees based upon the "history or examples of violence, bodily harm, property damage, significant disruption of campus operations" and violations of "the campus code of conduct and state and federal law." Administrators relying on instances of past protests, either for or against a student organization or speaker, will inevitably impose elevated fees for events featuring speech that is controversial or provocative and likely to draw opposition. Assessing security costs in this manner impermissibly risks suppression of "speech on only one side of a contentious debate." …

Forsyth indeed expressly holds that the government can't calculate security fees based on the expected hostility of some listeners to the speaker's message. The only question is whether a different rule would apply to a "limited public forum" (such as university property that the government needn't open to student-invited speakers in the first place) as to a "traditional public forum" like the streets and sidewalks involved in Forsyth, where the government must generally allow public speech.

But even in a limited public forum, viewpoint-neutrality is required. And Matal v. Tam (the Slants case) strongly suggests that discrimination against speech based on public reaction to its supposedly offensive message is indeed viewpoint discrimination: Justice Alito's four-Justice lead opinion stated that denying a benefit to speech "that is offensive to a substantial percentage of the members of any group" "is viewpoint discrimination"; Justice Kennedy's four-Justice concurrence stated that the government "may not insulate a law from charges of viewpoint discrimination by tying censorship to the reaction of the speaker's audience." See also Sonnier v. Crain (5th Cir. 2010) (treating Forsyth as applicable to speech on university campuses). Thanks to Annie Wagner for the pointer.

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  1. A University statement says, in part, “This week, UWPD obtained credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence…”

    Maybe they should ask the outside groups that planned to be violent (and apparently were, per the link below) to pony up the 17 grand.…../697201316

    1. Some evil atavistic part of me thinks that this could be addressed by requiring that all criminal charges and litigation resulting from damage to property or persons, private or state, on the UW campus, involving either 4 or more persons or the UW police, be tried in Pullman.

      Actually on further consideration maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea…or even evil.

      1. Sounds like a terrible idea–I know Huskies are loathe to head out east, but what Coug in his right mind would convict anyone for damaging the U-Dub campus?

        1. Your comments mirror my second thoughts perfectly. A jury drawn from residents of Whitman County judging a riot on the UW campus. The Coug jury would have to weigh their hatred of Huskies against their enthusiasm for law and order. This sort of tension is exactly what creates the conditions where actual justice may occur. Liberty is always strongest when hatred, predjudice, and ambition are held in equipose.

    2. Start earning $90/hourly for working online from your home for few hours each day… Get regular payment on a weekly basis… All you need is a computer, internet connection and a litte free time…

      Read more here……..

    3. Are you being intentionally dishonest or did you not watch or not understand the coverage you linked?

      That news report says that [Joey Gibson’s] followers seemed to be spoiling for a fight. and that they went around the barriers the police had put in place to keep the protesters separate. There is no indication in the source you cite that protesters instigated violence, but there is indication the ‘Patriot Prayer’, freedom rally side did.

  2. The wet side of Washington turned a corner in the late 90s and has been pushing the envelope of crazy in a different direction, and U-Dub is part of the problem. I think the day is not un-rapidly coming when Seattle will have to be sued to prevent it from outlawing the Republican Party, and even though the state is 40-45% Republican I would not be completely astonished if it required a Federal court to do so.

    Seattle progs can even embarass Multnomah county by shear proximity.

    1. What, is this not enough to criticize the University for, you need to imagine future stuff?

      1. I was saying that Seattle is going over the deep end and descending into madness, that illiberalism is rampant west of the Cascades and that I expect that someday the only protection political minorities in Seattle will have is the Federal Courts, particularly the 9th Circuit. I say that this is an ongoing trend. I also indicate that I think that while many people point at Portland and its well known ridiculous streak, Seattle is the place headed in a dangerous direction.

    2. I am sure there are plenty of third-rate (or unranked, perhaps even unaccredited) backwater religious schools teaching nonsense in the state of Washington to counteract for conservatives all of the reason, science, tolerance, progress, and reality-based education associated with the University of Washington.

      1. That assertion is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

        1. Were you responding to RoyMo or to me, Don Nico?

      2. That assertion is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

      3. It’s getting so that you cannot tell the Kirkland parody accounts from the real deal. Must be frustrating to be a living example of Poe’s Law.

        1. I always enjoy watching right-wingers — who can’t operate a campus without precipitating censorship, the teaching of nonsense, and third- or fourth-tier ranking — snipe about strong liberal-libertarian schools and whine about the perceived shortage of movement conservatives on the faculties of our nation’s best educational institutions.

          1. I always enjoy watching right-wingers — who can’t operate a campus without precipitating censorship

            Hmm, comment made in an article about a progressive school trying to stifle speech. Irony is not lost on you. No sir.

            1. But more importantly than that it is a progressive school, it is a government run public university that has legal obligations in regards to student speech that a private, religious institution would not have.

              That distinction seems to be utterly lost on reason lover AK

              1. I agree that strong schools — in other words, liberal-libertarian schools that reject the conservative approach to operating a campus — should avoid censorship.

                I am certain that strong schools should not be in the market for pointers from right-wingers on how to operate an educational institution (unless they want to deteriorate toward the conservative norm of a fourth-tier ranking, a censorship-shackled campus, collection of loyalty oaths, the teaching of nonsense, viewpoint discrimination in hiring and admissions, suppression of science and history, and the like).

                1. I rest my case. AK provides all the evidence we need.

                2. I am certain that strong schools should not be in the market for pointers from right-wingers on how to operate an educational institution (unless they want to deteriorate toward the conservative norm of a fourth-tier ranking, a censorship-shackled campus, collection of loyalty oaths, the teaching of nonsense, viewpoint discrimination in hiring and admissions, suppression of science and history, and the like).

                  Liberty U is more tolerant of opposing viewpoints than UW is. They didn’t charge a ton extra for the group that brought Bernie Sanders there.

                  Of course, Liberty students are also more willing to LISTEN to opposing views than the students who populate “elite” schools….

                  1. That is a comprehensively stupid comment. Liberty engages in ruthless censorship, enforces an old-timey conduct code, prohibits free inquiry, and teaches nonsense. This apparently is the academic world as you wish it to be, consequent to authoritarian, childish, wingnut preferences.

                    Carry on, clinger.

                    1. That is a comprehensively stupid comment. Liberty engages in ruthless censorship

                      …yet they had somebody who vehemently opposes virtually everything they do speaking at the campus. Odd.

                      enforces an old-timey conduct code

                      Hey, let me know where your knowledge of current Liberty U practices hails from. I know you don’t attend nor live near it. I’m curious.

                      prohibits free inquiry

                      Yet can have somebody who, again, vehemently opposes everything they do speak without the threat of violence…

                      This apparently is the academic world as you wish it to be, consequent to authoritarian, childish, wingnut preferences.

                      Funny how this backwards school is also home to one of the nation’s best debate teams, ain’t it?

                3. We’re certain you’re a bloody idiot, ALK.

      4. You are completely correct here, but they are private and not ny concern. Also in WA at least they are so obscure I challenge everyone here to name one.

  3. So what is the school to do?

    Provide security for ‘free?’ We all know it isn’t actually free, because the costs have to be recovered somehow. Generally on the backs of future students.

    1. That’s true, but do they charge the female students an extra “protection from rape” fee? Scaled according to their looks, and whether they take late night classes? By that sort of reasoning they’d seem entitled to.

      1. “By that sort of reasoning…”

        Excuse me? I asked what the school is supposed to do, and commented that security isn’t free.

        Don’t put words in my mouth, particularly if you’re simultaneously going to engage in strawman fallacies.

        1. The school is supposed to provide protection for all speakers, so that the right to free expression, the only basis on which intellectual progress can occur, can be exercised. Obviously it comes from the fees of all students (or the taxpayers or donors), as do the library, the laboratories, the theater, the art gallery etc.

        2. The point is that you don’t get to charge people extra for police protection, just because they’re particularly attractive targets for some kind of crime.

          Especially when the people targeting them are actually your covert agents. Which is, realistically, what’s going on. Because you know that Berkeley, for instance, would move Heaven and Earth to find and prosecute anybody attacking left-wing speakers. But it’s just too hard when the speaker is right-wing.

          What really needs to happen is for the DoJ to put some undercover people in the audience, nail those creeps, and go after them under the anti-Klan acts.

          1. So you’re saying they DO need extra protection, which according to your own comments means you think women need special protections from rape based on their looks, you utter weirdo. I’d say your opinions on what puts women most at risk from rape and your opinions on the real source of trouble in a rally of far-right rabble are about equally ignorant.

            1. If you don’t think women need more protection from rape than men, well, you’ve proven you’re not part of the triple-digit IQ club. Perhaps you’d be more at home at DemocraticUnderground; if you left here and started there you’d raise the average IQ of both groups.

            2. I’m saying they only need extra protection because the universities are in cahoots with the hecklers, who operate knowing they’re not going to face consequences. Some outside aid is needed to break that dynamic.

              My point was that in any other context except disfavored political ideology, the university would utterly reject the idea of charging people extra for protection just because they’re specifically targeted for violence. This is NOT a principle the university would generalize to groups it doesn’t disfavor.

            3. Finrod – you may need to check the accreditation of your club since you obviously have difficulty reading.

              Brett – they only need protection because CONSPIRACY.

              Of course in the normal day-to-day life of a campus, a certain standard level of security is expected. For big special one-off events put on by belligerent provocateurs looking to start a fight, special steps might need to be taken. This doesn’t seem like difficult distinction. Perhaps you and Finrod are in the same club.

    2. The school should stop taking empty threats seriously, provide a few guards for a modest fee, and actualy call the real cops if something real happens.

      The only reason this is an issue is because the “threat makers” have seen that university officials have signaled they don’t actually want said speakers on campus, thus they can coordinate efforts to suppress conservative speech without ever talking to one another. First a few radicals commit property crimes and are not arrested or prosecuted. Then the university president, mayor, and or police chief come out and condemn the “hate speech”, indicating that the Marxist activists have carte blanche. Now they begin to: (a) call in idle threats to attempt to deplatform with these “security fees”; and/or (b) engage in threatening or violent protest, which the police will “stand down” from until the conservative students begin retaliating, then they make arrests in a clearly biased ratio, and the AP, Reuters, and local news will then report these figures while indicating the right-leaning “Nazis” like Ben Shapiro or Jordan Peterson supporters (/s) are the aggressors and clearly violent against the “peaceful protests” of “hate speech”. This then gets picked up nationally, and the cycles propagates elsewhere.

      1. Pullman, WA is encased in an enormous buffer of lentils, dried beans, and wheat, through which nothing can propagate?or at least not propagate any farther than Moscow (Idaho, that is).

        1. Hilarious. Now explain what Pullman has to do with the University of Washington.

    3. The school could punish students who do this as a lesson to others. But they do not. They tacitly support the violence.

      1. That’s the key point here. The violent hecklers aren’t thugs who the university regrettably can’t identify, and must pay a fortune to stave off.

        They’re effectively the University’s own agents, doing the university’s own will.

        You can be sure that if they were attacking speakers the university approved of, the university would do anything, ANYTHING, to catch and expel them.

        1. Why do you think the university can identify them all? We know that not all of them, at a minimum, were from the university in the Berkeley riot

          1. I think the University could identify them, if it had wished to be able to. But they didn’t want to be able to.

            Look, if you know in advance that a gathering is going to be targeted, and you really care to put a stop to that sort of thing, you plant undercover cops, you wait until they’re at it, and swoop in. You won’t get them all, but enough of them to identify the ringleaders.

            But they can’t do that, because the ringleaders would rat out the administration. This is like the Klan in the South “couldn’t be identified”, because they were on the same side as the police and local political authorities.

          2. Why do you think the university can identify them all? We know that not all of them, at a minimum, were from the university in the Berkeley riot

            So, if a bunch of students wore white hoods and robes and went ape-shit at a black speaker — they would be powerless to do anything? Is that the argument here?

            If they are unable to handle it, then they should be removed from authority and replaced with competent people.

            Hell, they could always just say “No masks covering your face if you want to near this event”.

            I’ll note that they have spent precious little effort trying to find out who was involved in the riot and even less punishing them.

            Can you provide an explanation why a far-right group shouldn’t use the identical tactics of antifa, since they clearly work quite well?

            1. No, of course the university could and should have arrested them at the time. But it didn’t ,so it can’t.

              It’s disgraceful that it chose to let the riot happen, but that’s a separate issue from what it can do after the fact

    4. So what is the school to do?

      Expelling and prosecuting the snowflakes who go apeshit when they hear things they don’t like would handle it.


  4. Is no one else appalled at the “hourly rate of $157.52 per officer”? Even at double-overtime plus loaded costs for, well I’m not sure what since it would seem that all other cost factors are likely fixed… Anyway, I can’t come anywhere close to that hourly rate calculation. At first pass, that smells as made-up as the rest of the Chief of Police’s “objective facts”.

    1. $327,000 per year assuming 40 hours per week.

      1. $327K seems high, but a multiplier on salary of 2.5 – 2.7 is probably pretty common for US police departments

    2. Conventional business cost estimates are that an employee costs twice as much to employ as gross salary. This takes into account payroll taxes, back office support, benefits, and so on. e.g. an employee working for $50/hr costs $100/hr to employ. That said, $157,520/year salary (based on 2,000hr/year) seems high for a police officer (and 90% of the country too). So I’d like to see the justification for that price as well.

      1. Good morning, BillyG. I used to do cost-accounting for a living. A times-two multiplier would be rather a lot higher than I ever managed to justify unless you were including both fixed and variable costs of employment. But in the scenario above, there is no justification for including the fixed costs component. The department does not, for example, need to buy an extra desk, conduct more training or build a larger building just because they put 24 employees on overtime for an evening. Variable-costs multipliers are generally in the range of 1.1 to 1.4.

    3. That’s $10.50 per hour for being a warm body in uniform, and the remainder is the “fuck you, we don’t have any competition” surcharge.


      1. Don’t forget the extra, “Stand by and do nothing while crimes are being committed in front of you” fee. That can really run up the bill.

        1. Milo dealt with that in that tour earlier. He had to pay large sums for securty at, I believe, DePaul and they STILL sat back and did nothing as BLM activists rushed the stage.

  5. Superstitious, intolerant, stale-thinking yahoos have rights, too.

    Which young people — in an American electorate that becomes less rural, more tolerant, less superstitious, and less backward each day, especially among young people — are the College Republicans attempting to persuade with this? Have they abandoned hope for a conservative future and just decided to be provocative and unpleasant to poke a thumb in their betters’ eyes?

    1. It’s getting so that you cannot tell the Kirkland parody accounts from the real deal. Must be frustrating to be a living example of Poe’s Law.

      1. The key is that there is no real deal. He’s all parody, all the time, in all the accounts.

        1. I have but one account. In particular, when I have something to say to or about authoritarian, backward, intolerant conservatives, I say it directly.

          Carry on, clingers.

    2. Again, your comment (rhetorical question) is irrelevant to the legal question at issue.

      1. To a simpleton, perhaps. To someone familiar with Prof. Volokh’s record, and not immune to the predictable comments from conservatives lathered up by Conspiracy’s tedious, cherry-picked swipes at our strong educational institutions to flatter movement conservatism, not so much.

        Carry on, clingers.

          1. Must be tough to be a right-winger these days.

            We (liberals, libertarians, moderates, some RINOs) get all of the good music, all of the worthwhile comedy, all of the strong universities and colleges, the movies, the successful and modern communities, and the vindication of our preferences throughout America’s great arc of progress for the past 75 years or so.

            You guys get Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld; Ave Maria; current country music; Ouachita Baptist; miserable electoral demographics; evangelical megachurch talent shows; every depleted, can’t-keep-up backwater town; faith healers; and futile hopes with respect to abortion, treatment of women, prayer in schools, treatment of gays, creationism in science classes, treatment of blacks, the war on doobies, and treatment of Muslims.

            No wonder you guys are so cranky and bitter.

            1. We (liberals, libertarians, moderates, some RINOs) get all of the good music, all of the worthwhile comedy, all of the strong universities and colleges, the movies, the successful and modern communities, and the vindication of our preferences throughout America’s great arc of progress for the past 75 years or so.

              Modern music is basically shit.
              Comedy is tragically unfunny.
              Movies are uniformly awful nowadays.
              College grads are unable to think their way out of a paper bag.

              But, yes, the Left is really, really rich. So well played. I thought the Left claimed that money was, you know, not a moral good in and of itself but, apparently, you think otherwise.

    3. So, in other words, the American electorate is becoming less like you?

      1. For which we are all highly grateful.

  6. When descriptions use “controversial”, all it really tells me is that the reporter doesn’t like them and I am unlikely to get an unbiased report. I don’t think that’s their intent.

    1. Well, in this post that description was in a quote from the judge’s opinion.

    2. In my reading, “controversial” tends to mean conservative or libertarian (kind if a dog whistle for “right winger”).

      Actually I’m sure it’s been applied to lefties from time to time — and I fully expect someone to show me that — though I can’t recall any off hand.

  7. Stop letting mentally ill liberals vote, and all of these problems disappear, as the real people left to vote would be able to suppress liberal disorder.

  8. Its disgusting that anybody who’s allegedly an adult, let alone someone with the allegedly rigorous education to be a university administrator could think this was okay. Imagine if they charged the black kids during desegregation a ‘security fee’.

    1. What do you think of administrators and students on conservative-controlled campuses, who enforce and submit to speech codes, loyalty oaths, suppression of academic freedom, conduct codes, and the like?

      Thank you.

      1. What conservartive-controlled campi? (Campi is the proper plural for campus.)

        1. In what language? In English, Campuses is preferred to campi. Do you have any source that corroborates your seemingly poorly informed, prescriptivist nit-picking? Before you spout off something you feel or believe to ‘correct’ someone, do you ever consult a source? Maybe a dictionary, when you are arguing the correct form of an English word?

          Per wictionary: “Merriam-Webster online, American Heritage (via, MSN Encarta, Oxford English Dictionary (, all have no entry for campi, M-W and Oxford English Dictionary show plural of campus as campuses.”


          “Usage notes
          The Latinate plural form campi is sometimes used, particularly with respect to colleges or universities; however, it is sometimes frowned upon. By contrast, the common plural form campuses is universally accepted.”

          I suppose it’s an ad hominem fallacy to say that because you present such falsehoods with such certainty, you therefore shouldn’t be trusted when you are equally vehement regarding a political, or moral issue. Or when you make other bald assertions about what is right or correct. BUT, its human nature to judge your future statements based on your past track record with truth. Also, I believe our court systems would accept past evidence of your unreliable speech as evidence you might not be reliable in the future.

      2. AK, you really dont seem to grasp the difference between public and private schools.

        1. The concepts he does grasp are few and far between.

        2. I understand the distinction.

          I don’t hand a magical pass to right-wing censors or goobers, even if they cloak their authoritarianism, stupidity, or nonsense in superstitious garb.

          The record vividly establishes that conservatives are in no position to offer pointers to strong, liberal-libertarian schools concerning how to address free expression, free inquiry, academic freedom, or any similar subject.

          Some wingnuts apparently lack self-awareness in this context.

      3. what about them? Do you think all this is okay because conservative colleges are supposedly doing this and that? Also I don’t know what planet you’re on but in regards to modern Western society the graduates and influence from ‘conservative’ colleges relatively speaking are a drop in the bucket compared to the graduates and influence from mainline colleges. You don’t exactly trip over an alumni from Oral Roberts everytime you turn around on a random walk unlike the world you seem to have constructed for yourself.

        1. There are hundreds of yahoo-class conservative colleges, yet — as you observe — their graduates and faculties tend to be neither accomplished or influential.

          What does this lack of quality — and the failure of conservatives to build strong right-wing campuses, despite decades of whining about this ostensible market failure and the purported, untapped strength of conservative academics — teach us about conservatism?

          1. That if Progressives really believed affirmative action was necessary, they’d be able to explain the issue.

  9. Btw, the College Republicans posted a video of possibly the most pathetic whiny Millennial college student I’ve ever seen getting angry at them for putting up posters advertising the event.

  10. Here’s a link.

  11. I don’t think Tam is necessarily on point. Tam isn’t just outside individuals finding something offensive, it’s a government agreement with or endorsement of that view.

  12. Given that the University of Washington had agreed not to impose the fee until after the rally, I’m not sure a temporary restraining order was necessary. Why not try to get the parties to agree to wait for an ordinary decision on the merits? If there is no violence at the rally, the problem might disappear on its own.

    1. Why should they have to wait?

      If the school is fearful of violence, then have the school deal with it.

      If somebody was threatening to assault black students at a specific event, would they demand the organizers pay extra to secure it?

  13. Two thoughts:

    – Perhaps the university should explore private security options — they may be less costly than the police
    – Open carry folks can more than provide for their own security

    Down with the heckler’s veto!

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