Idaho's Boise State University ("BSU") is world-famous for its telegenic "blue turf" football field and a roster of impressive bowl game appearances. But if current trends continue, the school might be on its way to fame of a different sort: on the same weekend that Americans celebrate their nation's founding and their liberties, BSU is simultaneously under fire from three separate legal defense groups all of which are alleging violations of students' free speech rights.
The concerns have emerged from two nationwide organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") and the Alliance Defending Freedom ("ADF"), as well as from the Idaho-based Center for Defense of Liberty ("CDL"). They involve the activites of two on-campus clubs.
"We believe that Boise State University violated the First Amendment when it assessed ‘security fees’ against the 'Young Americans for Liberty at Boise State University’ student group” notes Geoffrey Talmon, Attorney with the CDL. Talmon sent a letter ealier this week to BSU President Dr. Bob Kustra, requesting that the university refund money that it charged to the student’s involved with BSU’s chapter of “Young Americans for Liberty” (“YAL”), a club with college campus chapters nationwide. Talmon is also requesting that BSU revise its policies over the assessment of “security fees” at speaking events.
Talmon cites a YAL-sponsored event at BSU on May 16, 2014, which featured Dick Heller as a keynote speaker. Heller was at the epicenter of the US Supreme Court's landmark 2008 “District of Columbia versus Heller” case, wherein a lower court ruling which determined that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to individuals living in a federal enclave was upheld. The high court's ruling resulted in the overturning of a restrictive gun law in Washington, D.C.
“Despite the Heller event having been planned for over six weeks, YAL was not informed until approximately 24 hours before the event that BSU had decided that additional security would be required at the event, and that YAL would have to pay an additional $465.00 for such security” Talmon states in his letter. “This charge increased the facilities cost for the Heller Event by approximately 820% over the previously-quoted total. Furthermore, the webpage containing the details of the Heller Event was removed from the BSU website prior to the event, and the event was also removed from the ‘This Week At Boise State’ section of the BSU website.”
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.