CRs attack new school policy for 'combating free speech'
- The University of Washington instituted a new free-speech policy following a February 2017 protest that turned violent, but the College Republicans worry that it will limit free speech on campus.
- According to a press release from the university's College Republicans chapter, the policy is intended to "silence all opposition" to the administration's "left leaning agenda."
The University of Washington College Republicans are accusing administrators of trying to “silence all opposition to their left leaning agenda” with a new policy for on-campus events.
New changes to the school’s security policy were made after a protester was shot outside the venue of a February 2017 Milo Yiannopoulos appearance on campus, which was hosted by the College Republicans.
“In [the] year since the Milo event, the College Republicans have faced a new rule put in by the UW administration with the expressed purpose of combating free speech,” a January 19 press release states, confirming they would be partnering with a group called Patriot Prayer to push back against the policy.
“The new rule gives the school and campus police a free pass to charge as much as they want for events at any point (even raising the costs during the event is now permitted),” the College Republicans’ release continued.
The university’s Safety and Security Protocols for Events state that the school “will perform an analysis of all event factors” when events are likely to “significantly affect campus safety, security, and operation,” noting that “[t]his could result in additional conditions and requirements placed on the host organization.”
The updated policy specifies that security measures may include “adjusting the venue, date, and timing of the event,” “providing additional law enforcement,” and “imposing access controls.”
Additionally, the policy states that the “host organization or group will be required to pay costs of reasonable event security as determined in advance by the university,” and “additional security fees may be charged to host organizations or groups” if the university places “supplementary security protocols prior to or during the event to provide adequate security.”
“The university reserves the right, in rare circumstances, to cancel an event if based on information available it is reasonably believed that there is a credible threat which unreasonably places the campus community at risk of harm,” the policy adds.
According to College Republicans President Chevy Swanson, the policy infringes on the free expression of students.
“We are also now responsible for damage done by protestors at the events we run,” Swanson told Campus Reform. “We asked for clarification and we were told that invitees include people there to attend the event, so if we have an event open to the public, this includes protesters and Antifa.”
“Protesters can now destroy school property, and in the past they would get away with it, now they get away with it and we pay the costs. UW is outsourcing the enforcement of the law, and the costs associated with it to us,” Swanson continued, suggesting that the university doesn’t want to “worry from legal backlash if they outright cancel the events they don’t like.”
“The university issued this clarification regarding reasonable time, place, and manner protocols in order to maximize the safety for our students and the entire campus community,” Director of Media Relations Victor Balta told Campus Reform, noting that Swanson is inaccurate in his assessment that groups will be held responsible for “damage caused by uninvited guests.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter