UM Trump group scrubs event, citing security cost
Adding police for Breitbart editor’s talk too expensive, it says
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.”