University moves to dismiss Liberty Hangout lawsuit


Kent State alumna Kaitlin Bennett and her boyfriend Justin Moldow speak about the second amendment at an event held by Liberty Hangout in the KIVA on Nov. 19, 2018.

David Williams

Lawyers representing Kent State made a motion Jan. 7 to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Liberty Hangout, a conservative student organization.

The motion for dismissal was filed due to “lack of jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” according to court documents.

The lawsuit came after the university attempted to bill Liberty Hangout $1,800 for “Let’s Talk Gun Rights,” an event hosted by the group in November. Kaitlin Bennett, Kent State alumna and campus Liberty Hangout founder, quickly went viral on social media after she posted a graduation photo in May 2018 of herself sporting an AR-10 rifle outside the Kent State Student Center after graduation.

Kent State issued the security fee pursuant to a policy holding student organizations financially responsible for security at events. The security fee policy first drew scrutiny in September when Kent State issued a $14,000 bill for an open-carry rally. After the bill was announced, the rally was turned into a walk, which cost the university $65,000.

The security fee policy was rescinded in December.

“The university kind of did what we wanted with removing the policy, but our concern is now there is no policy,”  said Michael Heil, the president of Liberty Hangout and a junior digital media production major.

Heil also noted that William Becker, Liberty Hangout’s attorney, offered to discuss a replacement policy with less bias, but the offer was declined.

Because the case is pending, Kent State had no comment.

David Williams is a senior reporter. Contact him at [email protected].