University of New Mexico: Imposition of Excessive Security Fees for Controversial Speaker
University of New Mexico
Several weeks before controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to appear at the University of New Mexico (UNM) at the invitation of two student organizations, UNM advised the student groups that they would be obligated to pay $3,400 for the cost of police officers to attend the event, and suggested that “additional security” may be required. UNM’s decision was based on a university policy permitting the assessment of security fees based on the “controversial nature of speakers or subjects.”
On January 24, 2017, FIRE wrote to UNM, explaining that its security fee policy violated the First Amendment because it granted administrators unbridled discretion to impose or waive security fees based on whether the university favored the speaker’s views. The day after FIRE’s letter was sent, UNM suspended the policy and announced that it would not require the students to pay the security fee.