The University of Pittsburgh rescinded a nearly $19,000 security fee against the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and the university’s College Republicans chapter after a conservative legal group sent a letter to the school.
The university’s College Republican chapter and ISI hosted conservative commentator Michael Knowles for a debate on transgenderism on April 18 with BASED Politics co-founder Brad Polumbo, and nearly 250 activists and protestors set off bombs, fireworks and burned an effigy of Knowles at the event.
The college then demanded that the ISI and College Republicans pay nearly $19,000 in fees for the damage caused by protestors, which prompted Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to issue a letter alleging that forcing the groups to pay the fees would be a violation of their freedom of speech.
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“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,” ADF Senior Counsel Philip A. Sechler, said in a press release.
The University of Pittsburgh dropped the request for the ISI and the College Republicans chapter to shell out nearly $19,000 to pay for the fees associated with the damage caused by protesters, according to a letter sent to ADF by the university.
“After thoroughly investigating this matter and after careful consideration the University is rescinding the invoice dated April 18, 2023 in the amount of $18, 734.25,” the letter said.
Rioters on the scene were encouraged by university staff to protest, according to the ADF. The university denies these claims.
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“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,” ADF Senior Counsel Philip A. Sechler said in the press release.
Democratic Pennsylvania state Rep. La’Tasha Mayes previously demanded in March that the University of Pittsburgh cancel conservative speakers’ events.
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