CBSN

Conservative groups sue university for moving Ben Shapiro speech

Ben Shapiro at Politicon 2016 at The Pasadena Convention Center on Sunday, June 26, 2016, in Pasadena, CA.

Colin Young-Wolff / AP

MINNEAPOLIS -- Conservative groups are suing the University of Minnesota, arguing that the school violated their free speech rights by moving a conservative speaker to its smaller St. Paul campus. Conservative speaker Ben Shapiro is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit filed Tuesday asks a federal court to declare the groups' First Amendment rights were violated and seeks an unspecified amount of money. 

Students for a Conservative Voice and the Young America's Foundation invited Shapiro to speak in February. Shapiro, a former editor-at-large at Breitbart, has been greeted by protesters at events at other campuses. 

They wanted to hold the event in a 1,000-seat hall on the main Minneapolis campus. But university officials cited safety concerns and moved the event to a 400-seat ballroom in St. Paul. 

The Feb. 25 speech drew a few dozen protesters, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Police blocked off nearby roads to control the crowd.

The groups allege the university has a "Speech Suppression Policy."

University officials say they are reviewing the lawsuit.