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Security Costs Loom Larger in Campus Free-Speech Fights. A Lawsuit Shows Why.

The University of Washington’s College Republicans sued the university late Tuesday over its decision to charge the group $17,000 in security fees for a planned rally this weekend featuring a controversial conservative speaker.

The group called the fees “draconian and unreasonable” and argued that requiring sponsors to cover such costs is an illegal restriction on protected speech.

The university says that the fees are based on a number of objective factors, including threats of violence, and that even $17,000 probably won’t cover the cost of securing the event.