VICTORY: UNC-Chapel Hill Backs Down on Discriminatory Fees Placed on SFLA President Kristan Hawkins Campus Event

Caroline Wharton - 24 Jan 2024

Free speech has tasted victory once again with help from Students for Life of America (SFLA) legal counsel. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has agreed to back down after surprising the campus SFLA group — called the “Carolina Students for Life” — with seemingly discriminatory fees following a SFLA President Kristan Hawkins speaking tour stop at the school last fall. Here’s what happened: 

As SFLA reported earlier,

“Before the event on October 17, the group was told in advance that they’d likely be paying $224 for security. However, on the actual day of the event, the University Security department decided to assign more than a dozen officers to their event and send the Carolina Students for Life the bill, charging them a whopping $3,877.05. 

“The final security invoice was more than 17 times the amount of the original security estimate. 

“To top it off, the school also did not complete their own protocols regarding event payment fees. The administration neglected to share any accurate estimates with Carolina Students for Life prior to their event, and the student group was consequently shocked by the final invoices.” 

(To learn more about Hawkins’ tour stop at UNC, click HERE to read another SFLA blog entitled “UNC Chapel Hill Abortion Supporters Threw a “Pro-Choice Party” to Protest Kristan Hawkins, Complete with a Bounce House & Condom Pinata.”) 

The Carolina Students for Life President Lauren Song said she felt “overwhelmed and surprised” when she received the invoice, as such a high cost seemed an impossible ask for a college student group. It also smelled like viewpoint discrimination to her, as other groups on campus had been charged less and received total cost estimates when they hosted their speakers. Suspicious of pro-abortion foul play, the Carolina Students for Life reached out for help — and SFLA’s legal counsel delivered. 

After sending a demand letter to the UNC administration to fight some of these charges, the school has recently decided to drop all of the UNC police department related security fees and some of the other administrative fees, as asked. 

(Click HERE to read an op-ed published at the Daily Wire by two Chapel Hill SFLA students entitled “Is Speech on Campus Really Free? How Pro-Life Views Are Stifled by Universities.”) 

SFLA Legal Operations Supervisor Olivia Torralba applauded the victory for pro-life First Amendment rights, stating, “Students for Life of America pushed back against the egregiously high free speech tax on Carolina Students for Life… and, of course, we won. No student should ever be expected to pay a charge like that in order to express and share their life-affirming beliefs. We are so happy that SFLA could help Carolina Students for Life achieve this victory so that they can continue sharing the pro-life message on campus.”

If you or your SFLA group are experiencing free speech issues on campus — including not being allowed to start a pro-life group at all — please reach out to [email protected] for assistance. Our legal team has a proven record of success in ensuring your First Amendment rights, and we understand just how crucial it is to make your voice heard in this fight. As the preborn cannot speak up for themselves, it is our duty to be their mouthpiece. That can’t happen if we allow ourselves to be muzzled.  

READ NEXT: SFLA President Kristan Hawkins’ 2024 National Pro-Life Summit Speech: Do The Great Thing

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