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Conservative Speaker Cost UNMPD $16,000

Marisa Demarco / KUNM
New Mexico State Police outside the Milo Yiannopoulos event at UNM in January. They were there along with the UNM Police Department, the Albuquerque Police Department, and the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.

Universities around the country are grappling with security risks and costs when student groups bring extremist speakers to town. Ever since Milo Yiannopoulos came to the University of New Mexico earlier this year, KUNM has been trying to find out how much security for the event cost. 

The UNM Police Department spent a hair under $16,000 to provide security at the Yiannopoulos speech in late January, according to UNMPD Lt. Tim Stump. In the interest of free speech, UNM waived a fee for the College Republicans to hold the event on campus.

But $16,000 is not the total security cost, since the Albuquerque Police Department, New Mexico State Police and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department were there, too, and they didn’t charge UNM. We’re looking into those totals. We had to file public records requests.

Shortly after he came to Albuquerque, Yiannopolous’ popularity tanked because video clips circulated where he talked about relationships between male adolescents and older men, and he resigned from his post at Breitbart, a website associated with the so-called "alt-right," a white nationalist movement.

The student government at UNM voted to give $10,000 to student groups bringing two more speakers to the university this year. The Students For Socialism and Liberation is protesting these events and has plans to meet with the university president Monday to talk about it. 

One is Christina Hoff Sommers who criticizes contemporary feminism and writes for a conservative D.C. think tank. She’s also known for arguing that rape culture doesn’t exist.

The other is political commenter Ben Shapiro, who worked at Breitbart and is the editor of The Daily Wire. He’s authored the books Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future and Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth.


Editor's Note: This post was amended to include more details about the two speakers who may come to UNM. 


Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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