The University of Wisconsin decided
Tuesday to cover nearly $1,300 in safety fees recently charged to a
The College Republicans had been
charged for extra services provided by the University of Wisconsin
Police Department for an event featuring conservative speaker David
But College Republicans chair Sara
Mikolajczak said Monday the group was unaware of the price when the
event took place and would be unable to afford the bill.
Casey Nagy, executive assistant for the
chancellor, met with Mikolajczak Tuesday and said UW will cover the
security costs in full because College Republicans had other
additional costs to hold the event, which were not originally
included in the group's budget.
Mikolajczak said the group had to
relocate from Grainger Hall, which is rented at no charge to student
organizations, to the Union Theater, which cost nearly $1,000.
Additionally, the group spent about $300 in publicity.
The number of students interested in
attending Horowitz's lecture was much higher then expected, and
College Republicans rented the Union Theater so they would not have
to turn anyone away, she added.
According to Nagy, the bill was
expensive because UW police had to call additional staff and pay
several police officers overtime.
"I don't expect to be picking up
the tab time after time," Nagy said. "But there's going to be
times when that's just not fully predictable, and I think it's in
the campus interest to make these events go forward."
Nagy said student organizations should
seek assistance from UW when a situation like this happens.
"Part of the problem I see in this
case is that it wasn't necessarily avoidable," Nagy said. "They
had a level of interested people and they had to last-minute
relocate, which resulted in added cost."
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend,
publicly criticized UW last week, saying security fees are being used
to silence conservative voices that come to UW, adding the university
"has been unable to name any similar fees charged for
"I don't necessarily think we were
attacked because we're a conservative group," Mikolajczak said.
"It could be, but I would like to think that this university
wouldn't do that."
In a list of recent security fees
obtained by The Badger Herald, several groups were charged for events
in which extra security was necessary, including a previous event
featuring Horowitz and a 2004 campaign event for Democratic National
Committee chair Howard Dean.
"I think Sen. Grothman was concerned
this need to impose security costs might discourage some speakers to
come to campus," Nagy said. "That's a legitimate concern, and I
think we have addressed it."
Mikolajczak previously said a Union
employee had informed her the security fees would "probably be no
more than a couple hundred dollars."
Nagy said Union staff is not
responsible for the fees, and there was a miscommunication about
pricing between police and College Republicans. He added the current
security fees policy does not require revision.
"I know it's university policy, but
I think it's a bad policy," Mikolajczak said. "It's not
really feasible for a student group. I would like to see it changed."