UCLA Republicans protest security fees for Shapiro speech
Republican students are demanding that the University of California-Los Angeles not force them to accept a “bizarre” security fee policy for a November 13 speech by Ben Shapiro.
According to a letter sent on the club’s behalf by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the proposed “70/30 agreement” would require that 70 percent of attendees be UCLA students, stipulating that should this quota not be met, the individual officers of Bruin Republicans would be held financially responsible for security costs assessed by the administration.
"There is no objective criteria for the enforcement of this 70/30 policy."
The letter asks the school to “immediately rescind the security fees assessed to Bruin Republicans for the upcoming Event and confirm that [the Bruin Republicans] will not be required to sign the contract or comply.”
According to Bruin Republicans Vice President Tyler Fowlkes, the UCLA administration has advised the group that specific cost estimates cannot be given until the week of the scheduled event, but has already “openly acknowledged” that there is “no way” the Bruin Republicans will be able to fund the event considering the added costs.
Fowlkes told Campus Reform that he believes UCLA’s response to the letter “will depend upon outcry,” noting that “public opinion can very much shape policy” because according to the First Amendment, “Anybody should be able come and speak at a public university regardless of political affiliation.”
“There is no objective criteria for the enforcement of this 70/30 policy,” Fowlkes added. “The policy has been described by the administration as being ‘dormant’ for the past six years, and has only been used five times, three of which were pertaining to events being put on by Bruin Republicans.”
In fact, Fowlkes claims that the last time the university can cite using the policy was in 2011.
Calling UCLA’s application of the 70/30 policy “viewpoint discrimination at its finest,” he said “the crazy part is that they have explicitly stated that it’s because of the particular viewpoint being shared that they are needing to assess these extra security costs,” referring to the school’s contention that additional security fees are necessary based on the hostile reactions it is anticipated to provoke.
“UCLA was just recently trying to host a ‘free speech week.’ They’ve been very much trying to perpetuate the narrative that they’re not Berkeley,” Fowlkes told Campus Reform. “The administration is actively trying to push a narrative that they are for free speech. At the same time, there are these subjective policies that I see as nothing more than a political barrier.”
Indeed, the Bruin Republicans noted in a press release Tuesday that UCLA “paid $300,000 to Hillary Clinton to speak at the school” in 2014, and that, “of the 1,800 tickets for that event, 1,400 were sold to the highest bidder (mostly off-campus purchasers) and only 400 were given away to students.”
Nonetheless, the press release claims that UCLA did not impose the 70/30 requirement on that event, giving administrators until Friday to provide a response to the ADF letter addressing that apparent discrepancy.
Campus Reform reached out to the UCLA administration for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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