University waives $2,000 'security fee' for conservative speaker

The University of Cincinnati has agreed to rescind a $2,000 security fee it had attempted to impose on its Young Americans for Freedom chapter for a speaking event.

The controversy arose after the conservative group decided to bring conservative columnist Star Parker to campus for an event this week, prompting the university to deem her presence controversial enough to warrant extensive security measures.

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In a statement put out by Young America’s Foundation, UC YAF chapter Chairman Regina Barton wrote that her club was informed it would need an event coordinator and a team of seven police officers, prompting her to seek help from the national organization.

“Young America’s Foundation, again, came to our aid, offering legal guidance if we thought it necessary. After both our faculty advisor and I wrote strongly-worded letters of appeal to the administration, the university decided to cover the security cost,” Barton stated, noting that she was encouraged by the university’s change of plans.

“Seeing action taken by the University of Cincinnati to rectify their mistakes and fortify a commitment to free speech has been incredible, making almost every roadblock encountered thus far worth the trouble,” she added.

Barton went on to remark that after “growing up in a conservative suburb of Cincinnati,” she never expected the university to be “so overtly biased towards one viewpoint.”

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“Witnessing this bias first-hand during my first semester, I decided to give conservative students a much-needed voice,” she wrote, explaining that the university tried to justify the security fees due to the size of the event.

“We are glad to see the university realizing the power and importance of free speech on our campus. There is nothing more vital to a balanced college education than free speech,” Barton told Campus Reform. “While the university's respect of free speech has been questionable, we are excited to see administrators and the university community making good faith efforts to embrace change.”

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