Controversy continues to surround the upcoming campus visit of conservative Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos, as the campus administration is requiring that the Berkeley College Republicans raise up to $10,000 to host him.
BCR invited Yiannopoulos to visit the campus as part of his 18-stop tour across U.S. colleges. His impending visit has generated controversy across the campus community given his straightforwardness and extreme conservative views. UCPD has determined the $10,000 to be a rough assessment of the costs of security, according to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.
The $10,000 estimate is not an exact number, according to Mogulof. He added that UCPD cannot give a more accurate estimate until BCR has filed the proper forms, which it had not done as of Friday.
“The ballpark is $7,500 to $10,000 and that is solely based on the number of people (attending),” Mogulof said. “The final number will be based on objective criteria without regard for the content for the event.”
Mogulof said the cost estimate is dependent only on objective criteria, such as the event’s venue, whether it is open to the public and whether the speaker brings his or her own security — not on the content of the event or the views of the speaker.
According to ASUC President Will Morrow, charging student organizations for security costs is standard practice — other student groups, such as SUPERB, have to pay costs as well. He said when student groups invite a high profile individual to the campus, it is their responsibility to help cover the cost of security.
“I think it’s important that adequate safety and security concerns are readdressed in preparation for this event given the security and safety concerns that have arisen when Milo Yiannopoulos has spoken at other campuses,” Morrow said
But Celine Bookin, the head of communications for BCR, expressed her frustration with the $10,000 estimate, calling it unreasonable. She said requiring such a high cost allows the campus to indirectly prevent BCR from expressing its views, because it makes it difficult for BCR to raise enough money to host the speaker.
“The absolute magnitude of the charge is extreme and appears designed to make it prohibitively expensive, causing BCR to cancel the speaking engagement,” Bookin said in an email. “That would be a backdoor attack on free speech.”
David Craig, the treasurer for BCR, said the board is not commenting on the assessment at this time. He added, however, that BCR subsists from its ASUC grant of about $3,900 and does not do its own fundraising.
Some other campus organizations, however, said they have found UCPD’s estimates to be fair and accurate. Obadiah Lovrak-Hamrick, a concerts manager for SUPERB, said in an email that in his experience, the estimates the campus provides are pretty close to the actual cost of security for the events.
“The security costs usually mirror (UCPD’s) estimates exactly,” Hamrick said in his email. “The UCPD costs are often high and can be prohibitive, but they give it to you ahead of time so you can budget ahead of time.”
Yiannopoulos is scheduled to visit the campus Feb. 1.