In what seems to be another act of security-fee censorship, administrators at the University of New Mexico have drastically raised security fees just days before a scheduled MILO event.
A member of the University of New Mexico College Republicans was reportedly informed by administrators of a more than $3,000 security fee just days before the scheduled January 27 stop of the Dangerous Faggot Tour.
University of New Mexico College Republicans President Marina Herrera was informed on January 13th that the student organization had less than a week to submit a $3,200 payment to cover security for the MILO event.
University of New Mexico College Republicans member Ryan Ansloan expressed his frustration over the last minute fees, arguing that the university is either poorly managing the event or deliberately attempting to censor conservative and libertarian thought.
This amounts to a free speech fine and is deplorable behavior by the university administration. To wait this long to inform us is either poor management or a deliberate attempt to silence speech at a public university. Neither possibility is acceptable and we continue to hope that we can come to a workable solution. If that proves impossible then we are setting up a gofundme page in the hopes that supporters of free speech will support our efforts to promote ideas not typically given equal time on liberal college campuses.
It is important to note the distinction between a demand for increased security based upon the content of speech and a demand for increased security based upon the anticipated volatility of an audience’s reaction to said content. With regards to the incident at the University of Maryland, security fees were increased not as a result of the content of Milo’s speech, but out of concerns that their students wouldn’t be able to behave when faced with ideas that conflict with their own.
UPDATE: The University of New Mexico have replied with the following comment.
UNM administrators have taken care to treat this event and its organizers precisely as they would any other campus event sponsored by a student group. Events at The University of New Mexico are subject to University policy. The applicable policy can be found here: https://policy.unm.edu/university-policies/2000/2230.html
It states: The event, program, or facility rental sponsor is responsible for security costs based on the number of police and/or security officers required and the length of event, program, or rental. The UNM Police Department will provide a cost estimate, but actual fees will be determined after the event, program, or rental based on actual circumstances.
The student group initially sponsoring the event, Young Americans for Liberty, reserved the space in November. However, the sponsorship was changed to the College Republicans in late December. Both groups were advised that extra security (with additional cost) might be required and must be covered by the sponsoring group. A meeting on Jan. 10 provided the student leaders of the College Republican group with an estimated cost for the additional officers and security measures that are anticipated to be necessary. The fee is due three days prior to the Jan. 27 event.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about social justice and libertarian issues for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org