A federal judge temporarily blocked the University of Washington from issuing a $17,000 security fee bill for a UW College Republicans event on Saturday.
U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman, who issued a temporary restraining order, said a security fee could have a "chilling effect" on free speech.
"[The UW is] saying because our speaker causes other people to want to protest, at no fault of its own, that's enough to charge us," said Chevy Swanson, president of the UW College Republicans.
The College Republicans’ Freedom Rally will be allowed to go forward, but the UW reserves the right to shut down the event if the FBI comes forward with credible information on a security risk.
The event in Red Square features Oregon activist Joey Gibson of the Patriot Prayer group as a guest and has the potential to draw 1,000 people, according to UW.
The College Republicans sued the school after UW asked the group to cover security costs for the rally, calling it a violation of their civil rights.
Several groups have canceled or postponed campus events on Saturday when rally is set to take place.
"A lot of students are concerned," said Molly Quinton, news editor of The Daily. "And the issue of free speech is coming up a lot in classrooms of whether you can set a price on it or what the university suppose to do when there is a threat of violence."
Access to Red Square and the surrounding area will also be limited Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This week, UWPD obtained credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote in a letter to students and staff Friday.
"When she puts out that statement she kinda comes with the implication that we're at fault or we're causing problems," said Swanson, "when in fact it's protesters. We have a peaceful event and protesters want to come cause problems. And protesters need to be called out for it, not us for putting on the event."
Cauce said the university was taking precautions to ensure the rally unfolded peacefully, but urged the community to stay away from the area for their own personal safety.
"The temporary restraining order issued today by U.S. District Court Judge Marsha J. Pechman prevents the University of Washington from charging what we believe is a reasonable fee toward the amount of security necessary to maintain a safe environment for an event, until a final ruling is made by the court. The UW will comply with the terms of the temporary restraining order, but this legal process is ongoing and we will continue to advocate for charging reasonable security fees to campus groups based on objective criteria," UW spokesperson Victor Balta said in a released statement.
"Regardless of the court ruling, the safety our campus community is of utmost importance and security at Saturday’s event will be provided as planned by both UWPD and Seattle police."
In January 2017, one person was shot and injured when violent protests broke out in Red Square outside an event where former Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopolous was speaking.
In a statement, a UW spokesperson said, "...we will continue to advocate for charging reasonable security fees to campus groups based on objective criteria."