Kaitlyn Bennett made her name by walking through the campus with an AR strapped to her back. Her point was that just days before, as a student at Kent State, what she was doing was illegal. However, since she had graduated the day before, suddenly her act was perfectly legal.
It was a hell of a way to call attention to the stupidity of the law.
Since then, Bennett has been at the forefront of the gun rights battles. She manages to deliver pointed rebuttals to anti-gun nonsense on Twitter as well pointing out the hypocrisy of the other side.
Now, a group at Kent State wants the graduate to return to campus, this time to speak.
In response, the school tried to require the group to cough up a security fee.
For those who are unfamiliar with campus shenanigans, security fees are often something schools tend to do as a way of trying to dissuade groups from inviting “controversial” speakers. They’re almost uniformly applied to speakers from the Right. Mostly because those are the speakers that need security from the howling mobs on college campuses, but still.
Well, Kent State’s effort to require such a fee has been shot down. At least for now.
When Kent State University wanted to charge a conservative student group an estimated $1,800 security fee to bring pro-gun speaker Kaitlin Bennett to campus, a federal judge blocked the charge.
Judge John Adams says the fees would encroach on the First Amendment rights of both the students and Bennett, also known as “Kent State Gun Girl,” reports Cleveland.com.
The student group Liberty Hangout will host an event called “Let’s Talk Gun Rights,” on Nov. 19 in the university student center.
“There should have been more communication,” Adams said. “We can’t allow protestors to shift the [financial] burden to the speaker and her organization.”
The judge granted a “temporary restraining order” on the security fees. A full hearing will take place on Dec. 13.
Kent State claims their policy requires security fees for student-sponsored events. They argued the $1,800 fee would only cover security for Bennet’s event and that Liberty Hangout would not be responsible for covering any damages that may occur.
Liberty Hangout claims that if they have to cough up the fee, they can’t host Bennett at all.
However, this isn’t as cut and dried as it may look, even to someone like me who has spent the last couple of years heavily covering colleges and their push to stifle free speech.
For one thing, Bennett also has a history with Kent State, and not just as a student.
Bennett has cost the school thousands of dollars in the past and has been arrested on campus several times. She founded Liberty Hangout before she graduated from Kent State in May, according to the Beacon Journal.
In September, she held an open-carry walk in that drew hundreds of protestors and cost the school $65,000 in security costs.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that alone is the reason for this fee.
Regardless, the judge argued that the policy on charging students was too broad, hence the temporary injunction.
It should be interesting to see what the final decision will be.