UCLA caves, agrees to pay for security at Shapiro event

The school had initially demanded that the Bruin Republicans pay all basic security fees and sign a contract agreeing to cover extra costs unless at least 70% of attendees were UCLA students.

UCLA has agreed to cover the costs of security at an upcoming Ben Shapiro event after being threatened with legal action for interfering with the free speech of conservative students.

The University of California, Los Angeles will no longer require a conservative student group to pay extra security fees for an upcoming speech featuring alumnus Ben Shapiro.

The response from UCLA was given within the time constraints presented by the original demand letter sent by the Bruin Republicans last week with help from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which warned that the school had until Friday to respond in order to avoid legal action.

“Given UCLA’s commitment to free speech, and to avoid any appearance to the contrary, UCLA has decided to also pay the basic security costs for this event,” campus spokesman Tod Tamberg told KPCC radio. “UCLA will be adopting this approach going forward while it reviews its current policy to ensure that it continues to be a useful planning tool for UCLA and registered student organizations.”

[RELATED: UCLA Republicans protest security fees for Shapiro speech]

The Bruin Republicans had publicly objected not only to the assessment of security fees, but also to the so-called “70/30” policy, which would hold the club’s individual officers responsible for paying security fees if UCLA students do not account for at least 70 percent of the audience.

Bruin Republicans Vice President Tyler Fowlkes pointed out to Campus Reform that not only would this policy put the individual officers at an unfair risk, but the group would likely “also end up having to pay for a third-party service to audit and track” the ratio of student to non-student attendees.

Fowlkes called the policy itself “unfair,” in that it based the possibility of financial liability on factors “outside [the Bruin Republicans’] realm of control.”

[RELATED: Berkeley students want to fight fascism by banning speech]

The statement from UCLA appears to address the main elements of the demand letter, though the Bruin Republicans stated in a Facebook post Friday that while they “appreciate that the University agreed not to apply this unconstitutional policy to our organization in this instance,” the group is “still requesting that the University modify its policy so that it cannot be used to discriminate against us or any club in the future.”

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