In the letter Talmon references local news reports wherein BSU staffers alleged that the YAL event posed a campus security risk and, thus, required additional security measures to be taken. He also cites what he describes as “BSU’s vocal opposition to the expansion of the 2nd Amendment,” and then states that, even if the university was genuinely concerned about campus safety at the YAL event, “that does not permit the University to put a pricetag on Mr. Heller’s speech, itself.”
Calls to Kustra’s office seeking comment about the incident, and Talmon's requests, were not immediately returned.
“It is troubling to read about what it seems that the university has done” Ritchie Eppink, Attorney with the ACLU, told local news outlet IdahoReporter.Com about the YAL case. “In particular it is troubling to read about the policies under which these additional costs were imposed on YAL. Based on what I know now, this seems unfair, and unconstitutional.”
In addition to its troubles with YAL, last week BSU and Kustra were both named in a lawsuit filed by the non-profit “Alliance Defending Freedom” organization. ADF alleges that BSU officials required an on-campus pro-life club to post “warning signs” for two pro-life events that campus officials deemed to be “controversial.” The lawsuit also alleges that BSU prohibited the pro-life group from distributing fliers outside one of the school’s eight officially designated “speech zones.”
“University policies that suppress free speech are completely at odds with what a university is: a marketplace of ideas,” ADF Attorney David Hacker said of the lawsuit in a written statement.
Prior to his service as BSU's President, Kustra served as both a legislator, and as Lieutenant Governor in the state of Illinois. According to reports from the Chicago Tribune, in 1996 Kustra sought the Republican nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate running as a "moderate Republican" in that state who championed both gun control and abortion rights.
Whether by Kustra's influence or not, BSU's stances with the pro-life and pro-liberty organizations on campus bare a striking contrast to the policies of the otherwise "pro-life" and 2nd Amendment-friendly state. Idaho officially requires parental consent for under-age minors seeking abortions, prohibits public funding for abortion services, and as of this month allows students who are licensed to posess concealed firearms to carry those weapons on college campuses.
Spokesperson Greg Hahn said that Kustra's office will likely issue a public response to the YAL conflict next week.
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.