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Rantz: UW sabotages conservative event after losing in court

Police control crowds at the University of Washington after a shooting amid protests of a speech by Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos in January 2017. (KIRO 7)

Ana Mari Cauce makes it pretty obvious that she doesn’t respect conservative speech on her liberal college campus. The UW president has now decided to do her level best to torpedo a conservative event on campus tomorrow.

First, Cauce tried to price out the UW College Republicans from holding a Patriot Prayer event on Red Square. They asked for $17,000 in security costs. Why? They claim it’s for the security costs associated with an event. But what it’s really about is making it so prohibitively expensive, that the club ends up cancelling the event. The costs is primarily based on how people who oppose the event may act. Conservatives at UW don’t try to shut down Progressive speakers, but Progressives go after Conservative events. This policy disproportionately silences conservative speech.

But the group didn’t cancel. The UW College Republicans sued and they won. A federal judge blocked the school from charging them for this security. The UW is angry they lost and, consequently, they’re trying to sabotage the event.

Now, Cauce is telling students not to show up, under the specious concern over their safety. In a statement released Friday morning, she wrote:

This week, UWPD obtained credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence. For the safety of campus visitors and others not associated with the events, several organizations have cancelled or postponed their campus events that day and access to Red Square will be limited. Your safety is important to us and we are taking precautions to ensure the Patriot Prayer event unfolds as peacefully as possible. However, I encourage you to avoid Red Square, and the surrounding area from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday to ensure your own personal safety.

The statement didn’t include what kind of violence was threatened, but she shows her hand when she asks students to stay away, which is what the college originally wanted. Now, she gets to use a purported threat of violence as a way to scare kids away from an event where – ahem – their beliefs might be questioned. The intent is to get you not to attend. Shame on Cauce.

If she truly supported free speech, she’d stand up to the protesters who are claiming they’ll turn to violence, rather than giving in to their terror. And somethings tells me that if this was a progressive event that was being targeted, Cauce’s message would be different. But, oh yeah, conservatives aren’t cowardly enough to silence speech that questions their worldview; they actually attend the event and try to engage.

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