Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
UW-Madison backs down on $4,000 Knowles security fee after legal threat

Concerns remain

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will not require $4,000+ in security fees for an event today featuring Daily Wire commentator Michael Knowles.

But Young Americans for Freedom said a large issue looms despite winning this battle.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and the Mountain States Legal Foundation secured a victory after sending a legal letter asking the university to back down on its assessment.

“While YAF has previously covered routine expenses such as venue set up and decorating for previous events, security fees have never been implemented, and this sudden change sets a very dangerous precedent,” Young America’s Foundation previously reported.

The university relented to keep the event moving along. “Solely to ensure that the speaker event moves forward in this tight timeframe, the contract is being revised to remove charges related to the extensive security protocol,” Nancy Lynch, the university’s legal affairs vice chancellor, told WILL.

“While reassuring that the event will move forth as scheduled, the school’s guarded language raises significant red flags,” the national group wrote on its website Monday. “Young America’s Foundation intends to ensure that these discriminatory attempts at stifling speech are never again attempted.”

Knowles is set to speak tonight on the topic of abortion. His speech is titled “The Case Against Murder.”

“I am happy UW-Madison took this request seriously and allowed our event to move forward,” campus YAF chairman Harrison Wells stated. “A university must value diversity of thought and free speech—Wednesday’s event does just that.”

Knowles, a conservative Catholic commentator, regularly draws protests at his events.

In one case, a federal law enforcement charged a couple for allegedly disrupting Knowles’ event at the University of Pittsburgh with smoke bombs in April 2023.

The debate on transgenderism was cut short due to the violent protests.

Pro-LGBT protesters also played music loudly and shouted obscenities outside of a Knowles event at Purdue University a month prior, in April 2023, as reported by The Fix.

The Fix reported:

The campus Young Democratic Socialists for America organized the protest. …Other favored chants were “F**k you fascist” and “When trans rights are under attack, what do we do, stand up, fight back.” Some activists later entered the student union where Knowles spoke and stood outside the ballroom repeatedly yelling “F**k you fascist” for most of the 45 minute long speech and Q & A.

A Matt Walsh event at UW Madison in fall 2022 caused some liberals to report being “physically sick” and “hurt,” by his event, as exclusively reported by The Fix.

MORE: UNM sued for charging Riley Gaines event security fees


Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.