Pitt waives Shapiro fee for College Republicans


Gage Skidmore

The University will waive the security fee it charged the Pitt College Republicans for Ben Shapiro’s talk on campus last November.

By Brian Gentry and Emily Wolfe

Ben Shapiro’s packed speaking engagement at Pitt in the fall drew only a few protesters. But before he arrived, Pitt charged the College Republicans, which hosted Shapiro, a $5,546.42 security fee — one that was paid under “protest” by the tour’s sponsor, Young America’s Foundation.

Now, Pitt has waived the fee.

University spokesman Joe Miksch said the College Republicans were responsible for the fee, as “consistent with University guidelines,” but the University would waive it due to the high cost to the club.

“The College Republicans, however, were apparently expecting Young America’s Foundation to address the fee,” Miksch said in an email. “To our knowledge, YAF never provided the College Republicans with the funds to pay the fee. In light of the confusion over this issue and the difficult position the College Republicans would be in without additional funds, the University has waived the fee for this event.”

When the fee was initially imposed, YAF threatened a lawsuit against the University, alleging it was unconstitutional.

[Read about the initial complaint here: https://pittnews.com/article/137912/featured/young-americas-foundation-threatens-lawsuit-against-pitt-over-ben-shapiro-security-fee/]

“We believe that the University of Pittsburgh’s security fee policy is deeply flawed — containing serious constitutional defects — and that because of these defects, the resulting $5,546.52 security fee is viewpoint discriminatory,” YAF said in an email sent to University administrators from its legal counsel.