02/13/2018

Free Speech Gets Expensive

The Wall Street Journal

When University of Washington’s College Republicans invited controversial activist Joey Gibson to speak, administrators gave them the OK—and sent them a $17,000 security bill. The student group sued Tuesday, and in an 11th-hour ruling Friday a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the college, saying the bill “runs afoul [by] chilling speech.”

The free-speech rally will proceed Saturday on the university’s main plaza, the Red Square. Administrators are urging students to stay away for their own safety. University President Ana Mari Cauce said Friday that campus police have “credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence.”

The threat is real. In 2017, when the College Republicans hosted alt-right parvenu Milo Yiannopolous, masked activists showed up to protest, while other nonstudents showed up to counter-protest. By the end of the night Joshua Dukes, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, was hospitalized with critical injuries. The woman charged with shooting him in the stomach, Elizabeth Hokoana, told law enforcement Mr. Dukes was wielding “a big knife” and was “about to gut my husband.” She and her husband have pleaded not guilty to assault.

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