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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
The Daily
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Cindy Sheehan shall speak; Havens Center to the rescue!
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There was concern it wouldn't go forward. A guy who used to write for me at the Herald, Steve Horn, was sending around a facebook petition trying to get people to protest Memorial Union's cancellation of the event.

Apparently there was an issue of security costs. Because there is expected to be a large crowd (don't ask how they calculate that), the organizers were expected to foot the bill for four security guards. However, that point was apparently moot because the event was not authorized anyway, since outside groups require the sponsorship of a university department to reserve space at the Union. Student group sponsorship is not sufficient. Brenda curiously left this point out of her post on the matter, in which she floated the idea of a lawsuit. There will be no lawsuit, nor do I see evidence that there would have been one if the event didn't go forward. The rules are very clear.

But it looks like Sheehan and Horn may be in luck. David Blaska's best friends are coming to the rescue. Todd Finkelmeyer reports:

The Havens Center has stepped forward to sponsor the event. The Havens Center was established in the Sociology Department in 1984 and is dedicated to promoting critical intellectual reflection and exchange, both within the academy as well as between it and the broader society.

Hmmm...talk about vague language. Finkelmeyer should have been more precise and given the readers a little background. The Havens Center is essentially a left-wing think tank. If you don't believe me, check out their site. The terms he uses would be embraced by just about any academic department. But not important. And the Union is now being extra-generous:

Kennedy said the Union now is picking up the tab for the cost of security. "In the spirit of creating discourse and cooperation among students, faculty and the community, the Union is going to pick up the cost of any security," said Kennedy.

So apparently the Union did feel some pressure. From what I've been reading about the issue, the Union leadership may have felt responsible for not notifying the organizers in a timely fashion about the security costs. Even the Havens Center withdrew their sponsorship at one point when they became aware of the security bill.

My guess is this is a conciliatory gesture by the Union. But if this group gets a break, do future speakers also get security costs funded?

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