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.

University of Utah Might Bill Students for Controversial Speaker Security


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.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Online Summit Promo Campus Safety HQ