UM Trump group scrubs event, cit­ing se­cu­rity cost

Adding po­lice for Bre­it­bart editor’s talk too ex­pen­sive, it says

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Colin Camp­bell cm­camp­bell@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/cm­camp­bell6

A stu­dent group that wanted to host the con­tro­ver­sial Bre­it­bart editor and writer Milo Yiannopou­los at the Univer­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park on Wed­nes­day says it has canceled the event be­cause se­cu­rity would be too ex­pen­sive.

Terps for Trump said bomb threats made at other univer­si­ties where the alt-right fire­brand had been sched­uled to speak had added $2,000 to se­cu­rity costs, ac­cord­ing to Bre­it­bart. That brought the to­tal cost of stag­ing the event to $6,500.

The group opened a GoFundMe page to pay for the event, but the page has since been taken down.

Yiannopou­los, who was banned from Twit­ter this sum­mer for al­legedly lead­ing what the so­cial me­dia site called the “tar­geted abuse” of “Satur­day Night Live” co­me­dian Leslie Jones, has been crit­i­cized for vit­riol to­ward Mus­lims, Black Lives Mat­ter ac­tivists and oth­ers.

Yiannopou­los, reached by email Mon­day, di­rected an as­sis­tant to sched­ule an in­ter­view but did not respond to re­quests for com­ment. Terps for Trump did not respond.

Bre­it­bart quoted from the group’s GoFundMe page.

“We at Terps for Trump re­gret to in­form that we have run into some bumps re­gard­ing fund­ing for this event,” the group wrote. “We all love and ap­pre­ci­ate Milo’s work and wholeheartedly want him to give his talk at our Univer­sity, how­ever we sim­ply can­not afford to pay for this more or less enor­mous last minute bill by our­selves.”

Bre­it­bart, a con­ser­va­tive web­site whose chair­man, Stephen Ban­non, is also chief ex­ec­u­tive of the pres­i­den­tial campaign of Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, ac­cused the univer­sity of in­flat­ing se­cu­rity costs in an at­tempt to keep Yiannopou­los from speak­ing on cam­pus.

Terps for Trump said Yiannopou­los had re­quested no speak­ing fee.

Univer­sity spokes­woman Crys­tal Brown said the cost for the event at Ritchie Coli­seum had been es­ti­mated at $5,048.

Se­cu­rity would have cost $2,211, Brown said. The other costs in­cluded stage setup, light­ing, AV, room fees, ta­bles, chairs and other ac­com­mo­da­tions, she said.

Brown said rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Yiannopou­los had re­quested five univer­sity po­lice of­fi­cers to pro­tect him. The fi­nal cost es­ti­mate pro­vided to the stu­dent group in­cluded six of­fi­cers, she said.

Univer­sity Po­lice Capt. Laura Dyer said a se­cu­rity de­tail of that size was “not an un­usual re­quest” for a high-pro­file speaker. Po­lice were aware of the threats made at other univer­si­ties, Dyer said, and took them into ac­count.

She said cam­pus po­lice pro­vide se­cu­rity for about 1,000 events each year, from Terps bas­ket­ball games to com­mence­ment ex­er­cises, she said.

Dyer said she and other po­lice of­fi­cials work reg­u­larly with Stu­dent En­ter­tain­ment Events, the stu­dent group that brings speak­ers and en­ter­tain­ers to cam­pus, to co­or­di­nate se­cu­rity.

“They’re very used to the prices and the needs” for host­ing large events, Dyer said. “Not ev­ery group is as fa­mil­iar with those costs as that par­tic­u­lar group.”

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