University of California at Los Angeles: Controversial Student Event Cancelled
The University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) has reversed a decision that forced a student organization to cancel an immigration debate in response to threatened protests after it could not pay a $15,000 security fee. After UCLA's Objectivist group was forced to pay the security fee or cancel the event, they turned to FIRE for help, who wrote Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams to remind him that UCLA was legally bound to uphold the First Amendment, and that forcing a club to pay excessive security fees because of the threat of an unruly mob was also unconstitutional. As a result, UCLA changed its position, emphasizing in a letter to FIRE that the Objectivist group could host the event without paying the security fee. The unconstitutional "heckler's veto" has been dealt another blow on college campuses.
- "Victory for Free Speech at UCLA," March 29, 2007: Under pressure from FIRE, UCLA has reversed a decision that forced a student organization to cancel an immigration debate on campus. UCLA had planned to charge the student group sponsoring the debate up to $15,000 in security costs after other students threatened to protest the debate. FIRE intervened by stating that the First Amendment forbids UCLA from financially penalizing students for sponsoring controversial speech. UCLA was finally convinced, and has promised that it will no longer burden controversial speech with prohibitively large security costs.
- "Letter from UCLA Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams, March 26, 2007," March 26, 2007
- "Letter from UCLA Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams to FIRE, February 26, 2007," February 26, 2007
- "FIRE Letter to UCLA Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams, February 19, 2007," February 19, 2007