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Judge prevents UW from charging College Republicans $17K for security

Seattle police stand outside Kane Hall on UW campus during an event featuring Milo Yiannopoulos in 2017. The event cost the school and SPD thousands of dollars. (KIRO Radio)

College Republicans at the University of Washington cannot be charged a security fee of $17,000 for an event on Saturday, a judge ruled.

Security policy unfair to Conservative groups

The Seattle Times reports the decision came down Friday morning.

College Republicans filed a lawsuit against the school on Tuesday, citing the expense was a violation of free speech. The group is preparing to welcome Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, to a rally on Saturday.

University of Washington Police Chief John Vinson issued a statement before a decision was made, saying “safety and security” on campus is a primary concern.

UWPD determines the estimated costs for security at events hosted by all student groups and registered organizations on an individual basis. These estimates are solely based on objective criteria, including an analysis of violence and threats to public safety by the invited speaker, attendees at previous events or the sponsoring group – both in and out of the state of Washington – as well as the date, time and location of the proposed event. Security cost estimates are not based on a speaker or group’s ideology or political position.

That estimate was a whopping $17,000. UW police say an event in January 2017 featuring Milo Yiannopoulos racked up a security bill of at least $20,000 for UW. The Times reports it cost the Seattle Police Department another $53,000. One person was shot during that event.

On Friday morning, a message from University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce stated that University of Washington Police have “obtained credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence.”

Several organizations and other events have since been canceled due to the threat, according to UW. The message encourages people to “avoid Red Square, and the surrounding area” from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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