RNLA’s Vice President for Communications hit a home run for free speech on college campuses on behalf of her clients, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and the UC Berkeley College Republicans.
Boom! Deeply honored to have been selected as the lead plaintiffs’ counsel in this landmark 1st Am. lawsuit, which today resulted in a settlement allowing free or nominal access to campus facilities at UC Berkeley, and no security fees for the types of events our client hold. 🙌🏽 https://t.co/3n2kez7YBD— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) December 3, 2018
LifeZette details the terms of the settlement:
The terms of the settlement include paying YAF $70,000, rescinding unconstitutional and events-related policies that marginalize conservative students, and abolishing the “heckler’s veto” — a process that allowed protesters to quash conservatives’ freedom of expression.
The fight for free speech at Berkeley specifically and for college students generally is supported by the Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest backing the campus conservatives. The crux of their argument revolved around two campus policies that they claim violate students’ First and 14th Amendment rights: an unspoken “High-Profile Speaker Policy” and an on-the-books “Major Events Policy.”
“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights,” Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand said at the time.
Rachel Brand is a former RNLA Board Member who has since moved on to another position. The students were pleased as well. As YAF spokesman Spencer Brown stated:
This landmark victory for free expression means UC Berkeley can no longer wantonly treat conservative students as second-class members of its community while ignoring the guaranteed protections of the First Amendment.
Further, the policy that allowed Berkeley administrators to charge conservative students $20,000 for security to host Ben Shapiro—an amount three times greater than the fee charged to leftist students to host liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—is gone. YAF and UC Berkeley agreed to a fee schedule that treats all students equally.
This victory is bigger than YAF and the Berkeley College Republicans. As Harmeet stated:
This landmark settlement means that all students at UC Berkeley now have the exciting opportunity to hear a variety of viewpoints on campus without the artificial tax of security fees selectively imposed on disfavored speech. I'm grateful to YAF and BCR for their leadership on the fundamental issue of free speech on campus. The impact of this settlement cannot be overstated.
The settlement can be viewed here.