Harvard Is Spending at Least $10,000 in Security Fees for Each Controversial Speaking Event

According to a report from the Crimson, Harvard University has been spending around $10,000 in security costs to host controversial speakers like Charles Murray.

A report from the student newspaper at Harvard University revealed that the administration has been forced to spend at least $10,000 in security costs for each event featuring a controversial guest lecturer. According to the report, the university spent at least $12,000 in security fees for a recent event featuring American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray. The costs went directly to the Cambridge Police Department.

In recent history, Harvard has forked over similar security costs for events featuring guests such as ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The Crimson reported that there were at least 15 cops with several bomb-sniffing dogs at DeVos’ Harvard lecture which took place on September 28.

The fee demanded by the Cambridge Police Department is not the only cost absorbed by the administration. Although they refused to divulge their cost to the Crimson, Harvard campus police are also used for security purposes during events featuring high-profile and controversial guest speakers.

“I don’t have any figures to give you, but I can guarantee you that the cost is going up for everybody,” said president Jim Bueermann of the Police Foundation. “Even though you may not be able to get the numbers [from Harvard], this I think is the reality for universities today.”

“The landscape is different than it was five years ago, ten years ago,” said Steven J. Healy, the CEO of a campus security consulting company and previous director of public safety at Princeton University. “There is a wider acknowledgment that… promoting free speech is not free—given the current climate, there tends to be a greater awakening of oppositional voices, so that brings protest and that costs money.”

Fortunately for Harvard students, the university’s vast resources allow for the expenditure on security. “I’ve never been in a conversation where somebody said, ‘Oh, there’s a tradeoff here between the safety and security concerns and some amount of resources and so we can’t afford it,” Archon Fung, an academic dean at Harvard’s Kennedy School said. “I’ve never been in a conversation like that.”


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