UW blocked from charging security fee for College Republicans rally

University of Washington's Red Square. (Photo: KING)
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A federal judge temporarily blocked the University of Washington from issuing a $17,000 security fee bill for a UW College Republicans event on Saturday.

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman ruled Friday a security bill could be assessed after the fact, but not before the event took place.

The College Republicans’ Freedom Rally will be allowed to go forward, but the UW reserves the right to shut down the event if the FBI comes forward with credible information on a security risk. 

The event in Red Square features Oregon activist Joey Gibson of the Patriot Prayer group as a guest and has the potential to draw 1,000 people, according to UW.

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The College Republicans sued the school after UW asked the group to cover security costs for the rally, calling it a violation of their civil rights.

Several groups have canceled or postponed campus events on Saturday when rally is set to take place.

Access to Red Square and the surrounding area will also be limited Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This week, UWPD obtained credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote in a letter to students and staff Friday.

Cauce said the university was taking precautions to ensure the rally unfolded peacefully, but urged the community to stay away from the area for their own personal safety.

In January 2017, one person was shot and injured when violent protests broke out in Red Square outside an event where former Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopolous was speaking.