Free speech: UCSB reimburses College Republicans · 17 October 2011

Under pressure from a conservative free-speech group, University of California officials have reimbursed campus Republicans in Santa Barbara for hosting a speaker who claims Muslim extremists and left-wingers are infiltrating the classroom. The UC Santa Barbara student government balked at the Republican group's request for $1,800 to pay for conservative author David Horowitz's appearance, but school officials eventually acknowledged their legal duty to provide equal funding for speakers regardless of their views, said a spokesman for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. "You can't make a viewpoint-related decision about speakers" at a state-run college, the foundation's Adam Kissel said Wednesday. He said the U.S. Supreme Court defined the constitutional standards in 2000 when it ruled against students at University of Wisconsin who objected to use of part of their student fees for political activities they disliked. The unanimous decision said such fees are legal as long as a school uses "viewpoint neutrality" in its funding decisions. The Santa Barbara episode comes in the wake of another controversy over politics and free speech on campus, the criminal convictions of 10 UC Irvine students last month for disrupting a public meeting by heckling the Israeli ambassador during a speech in February 2010. Read more: