The University of Wisconsin's decision Tuesday to pay nearly $1,300 in security fees for a student event has sparked concern among representatives of some liberal-oriented groups on campus.
After an Oct. 22 event organized by the College Republicans generated an expensive security bill, chair Sara Mikolajczak said the group would be unable to afford the charges.
UW junior Zach Heise, an active member of the Campus Antiwar Network, said the number of police was "most definitely not" necessary and disagreed with UW paying for the security fees.
The "most interesting" thing to happen, Heise added, was former UW lecturer Kevin Barrett yelling at Horowitz during the lecture before being asked to leave the room.
"There was absolutely no problem, and the university is being publicly billed for this thing, and it just doesn't seem fair to me," Heise said. "I don't think that, for example, if CAN had a speaker that they would have security guards around them, and if they did, I think it should be our responsibility to pay for security."
Heise added he has been to many protests, and none of these times has security been necessary. "They're always there for the 'just in case.' But I don't think the 'just in case' is worth $1,300," Heise said.
But Casey Nagy, executive assistant for the chancellor, said the money comes from private donations, and not taxpayer dollars or student tuition.
"This money comes from discretionary accounts held by the chancellor's office," Nagy said. "We use that money to fund student activities all the time."
Another CAN member, UW junior Rob Lewis, said it is understandable that security is needed, but said he condemns College Republicans for "bringing such a hateful speaker."
"Personally and morally I think that he never should have came here," Lewis said. "Would a Nazi speaker be allowed to speak? I'm not sure."
In a previous interview with The Badger Herald, Nagy said even though he does not expect UW would be "picking up the tab timer after time," it is in the campus interest to make events like the Horowitz visit happen.
College Democrats Chair Oliver Kiefer said though he disagreed with Horowitz's point, it is always important to defend the First Amendment.
"For me to know that my free speech will be protected, everyone else's free speech should also be protected," Kiefer said.
Kiefer said he is pleased UW moved to address the situation in timely fashion, taking into account both the needs of security on campus and the issue free speech.
"A lot of people gave us a hard time for bringing someone as controversial as Mr. Horowitz, but as far as I'm concerned, if you don't bring in someone like that, it's not going to ignite interest," Mikolajczak said. "If you don't ignite interest, what's the point of even having an event?"
Mikolajczak added Horowitz was very controversial but he filled the Union Theater, "and that's really what we were going for."