University of New Mexico: Imposition of Excessive Security Fees for Controversial Speaker

Category: Cases
Schools: 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.

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  • VICTORY: University of New Mexico Suspends Speech Code, Waives Speech Tax for Milo Yiannopoulos Speech

    January 26, 2017

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Jan. 26, 2017—Two University of New Mexico (UNM) student groups will no longer have to pay a $3,400 tax on speech to host Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on campus tomorrow. One day after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote to UNM about the threat posed to campus free speech by its “Police and Security Services” policy, the university suspended portions of its policy and waived security fees for the Yiannopoulos event—and for all future events hosted by student groups. “FIRE thanks the University of New Mexico for taking the necessary steps to ensure that students’ […]

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