University of New Mexico Embraces Free Speech, Drops MILO Security Fee

The president of the University of New Mexico has suspended the security fee for MILO’s upcoming event in order to ensure its “[commitment] to the principles of free speech.”

Protest groups are already planning to disrupt the event, with a group named “We Are The Core” planning a ‘Unity Day’ at the university, aided by the university’s art department.

Lee Montgomery, an assistant professor in experimental art, told KRQE News 13 that he would host a post making event, and has also signed people up to read poetry outside the university’s student union.

“We are saying that we oppose his message, but we are not going to approach it with equal hatred,” Montgomery said. “I think between the poetics and the visual aesthetics, we’re trying to bring a sense of beauty to a notion of protests,” Montgomery said.

However due to fears of violent left-wing protests, as has been seen recently at UC Davis and the University of Washington, the university’s republican group, who are hosting the event, were asked to pay a staggering $3,400 security fee in order to hold the event.

At the time, UNM College Republican spokesperson Ryan Ansloan criticised the fee, saying it amounted to a “free speech fine,” and “deplorable behavior by the university administration.”

At the time the university responded by saying that they had “taken care to treat this event and its organizers precisely as they would any other campus event sponsored by a student group,” and that “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.”

Security fees have been a source of controversy throughout the Dangerous Faggot Tour, and has sometimes been used as a means of censoring MILO’s talks by pricing student groups out of hosting the event, simply because the university cannot control their own students.

However, in the case of the University of New Mexico, the university’s acting president, Chaouki Abdallah, released a statement saying the university would not proceed with the security fee.

The University of New Mexico is committed to the principles of free speech, and values our role as a marketplace of ideas in the community. Within this context, I have carefully considered the concerns expressed by the Regents in last Friday’s meeting regarding the police and security services policy and how its application may impact free speech on campus. As a result, I am directing the immediate suspension and application of that portion of the policy that results in fees for security and police protection, pending a thorough policy review.

The event, which is one of the final events of the tour, will take place on Friday night at 6pm at the University of New Mexico.

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