University of Utah Might Bill Students for Controversial Speaker Security
The move to charge for security comes after the school paid $25,000 to protect an event featuring controversial speaker Ben Shapiro.
The University of Utah is considering having student groups pay a greater share of the security costs associated with controversial speakers.
The move comes after the school footed the security bill for Ben Shapiro’s speech on Sept. 27. It cost the school about $25,000 to pay for 60 officers to maintain law and order at the conservative speaker’s event. Barricades and patrol vehicles were also used to maintain security.
The speech drew hundreds of protestors and several Shapiro supporters who gathered outside the event, reports KSL. Two protestors were arrested.
The university’s chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom invited Shapiro to speak. Tickets to the event were free.
The $25,000 tab for security was paid for by tuition and taxpayer revenues but was offset somewhat by local departments volunteering officers.
The school hasn’t discussed the matter yet, but officials are leaning toward developing guidelines for events that might attract protestors.
Before Shapiro arrived in Salt Lake City, seven University of Utah administrators visited UC Berkeley to see how that campus policed Shapiro’s Sept. 14 speech there, which resulted in nine arrests and cost UC Berkeley about $600,000.
Campus Safety previously reported that since last February, when an appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled following violent protests, UC Berkeley has incurred at least $1.4 million in security costs and damages. The school had also planned to spend nearly $1 million for security for Yiannopoulous “Free Speech Week” in September, but the event was cancelled.
It is estimated that security costs for white nationalist Richard Spencer’s Oct. 19 speech at the University of Florida will be at least $500,000.
The visit to Berkeley prompted University of Utah administrators to dedicate more security resources to Shapiro’s Sept. 27 event.
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