MILO’s event at Iowa State University on December 9th has had to be cancelled after administrators raised the security fee at the last minute, leaving student organizers no time to raise the required funds.
University president Steven Leath defended the late security fee hike last week, claiming that it was “standard practice,” before blaming the extra security fees on previous threats at MILO events despite the fact that those cited happened around six months ago, with administrators only hiking up their previously determined security fees recently.
“Physical altercations, bomb threats and threats of weapons violence at other universities where Yiannopoulos has appeared or been scheduled to appear have resulted in the need for the Memorial Union to require additional security for this event” wrote the president’s office in a statement.
“Modifying the security requirements as the risk assessment changes closer to the event is standard practice for Iowa State University. The event organizer had several phone calls with the Memorial Union Director during which he was told that additional security would be required. Again, as stated in the policy, event organizers are responsible for the costs of that support.”
As reported last week, “by imposing excessive fees on student groups, administrators at the University of Maryland are likely violating a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, which decided that public universities can not impose security fees based upon their perception of how attendees may react to the event.”
In Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992), the Supreme Court determined that government actors—like public college or university administrators—may not lawfully impose security fees based on their own subjective judgments about “the amount of hostility likely to be created by the speech based on its content.” Such fees amount to a tax on speech an administrator subjectively dislikes, or subjectively believes is likely to cause disruption or violence.
“I had paid in full September 7th an amount of $1070 out of my own pocket, which including the rental space, lighting, AV, tech, and the whole shabang” explained the student organizer Austen Giles in an email to Breitbart Tech on Wednesday. “Just yesterday, the event manager at ISU said the ISUPD is requiring 6 officers to secure the rental space which will cost additional but did not say amount. Today, the event manager sent out an email saying it will require an additional $1944.”
“As far as I can tell, no liberal events even required additional security let alone any at all” continued the organizer. “There is rarely any conservatives events that are held so its pretty obvious they are trying to cancel this event.”
“After all the preparation they pull a move like this” he continued. “Where the heck is a college student going to get almost 2 grand a week before an event happens.”
In a post to their official Facebook page, the Des Moines Anti Fascist group confirmed that the university imposed extra security fees in an attempt to stop MILO’s event from taking place.
“If you haven’t heard yet Iowa State University has gotten wind of the peoples’ frustrations about how an event like this could possibly be allowed at their school facility just WEEKS after there was a second occurrence of white heritage/power posters popping up on campus” wrote the group on Facebook. “They know Milo loves to provoke, troll, and offend as many people as possible so they told the hosting organization, ISU StudentsForTrump, that they will need to pay for the extra event security to the tune of $2,000 total or the event has to be cancelled.”
In a statement to Steven Leath, MILO criticized the “slippery censorship tactics”, adding that the public won’t “forget it.”
“Universities that hope to stop me by hitting students with impossible security fees should think again. The University of Alabama tried it, and backed down. The University of Minnesota tried it, and backed down” MILO declared. “Students don’t accept the college’s reasoning, and, when they are informed of it, neither do the public. All President Leath is accomplishing with this fee is giving his college a reputation for slippery censorship tactics.”
“He should carefully compare the reputations of Mizzou and the University of Chicago, and consider which route he wants to go down” he continued. “Because make no mistake: if Iowa State University opts for the route of censorship and suppression, I won’t let them, or the public, or their alumni, or potential students, forget it.”
Iowa State University have not responded to any further requests for comment.