School encourages 'disruption,' then charges student groups fee for security

August 26, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

When members of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the College Republicans at the University of Pittsburgh scheduled a meeting regarding "gender identity ideology," school officials "encouraged protesters to disrupt" the event.

Then they charged the conservative student organizations $18,734 for a "security fee."

That now has been canceled.

An announcement from the ADF confirmed school officials rescinded the billing after they were warned that such penalties violate the student groups' First Amendment rights.

"Encouraging students to shut down a legitimate campus event and then charging the organizers outrageous security fees is the kind of speech suppression the First Amendment forbids," said Philip A. Sechler, a lawyer for the ADF.

"While the university denies allegations that its officials incited the disruption, it was right to drop the financial charges against the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the College Republicans chapter. The university appears to have realized that the cost of chilling student speech is too high."

The ADF had informed the school in a letter several weeks ago that the charges weren't constitutional.

The report explained, "On April 18, the student groups hosted an event on the topic 'Should Transgenderism Be Regulated by Law?' The event was to include a moderated debate featuring speakers Michael Knowles and Brad Polumbo, 30 minutes of audience Q&A, and a 40-minute meet-and-greet for attendees to meet Knowles."

The student groups followed all university policies and procedures to set up the event and initially were told by the school there would be $2,000 in security fees.

Then the school demanded the students pay another $16,925, then adjusted the total to $18,734 and demanded the payment "very soon."

However, according to the ADF, the legal team pointed out that the school's own "communications," actually "incited many in the Pitt Community to violence and substantially contributed to the disruption that caused the event to be prematurely terminated."

Among its "incitements," the school issued a press release calling the plans by the conservative students "toxic and hurtful for many people."

Then, despite the security fee demands, ADF reported, the school then failed "to control the riotous crowd and instead urged ISI to terminate the event before it even concluded."

Latest News

© 2023 - Patriot News Alerts