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Yiannopoulos Security Costs Rise To $64K

Marisa Demarco / KUNM
A State Police officer ushers a protester toward the door during Milo Yiannopoulos' event at UNM on Jan. 27, 2017.


When extremist speakers come to town, free speech advocates argue it’s their right under the First Amendment to say whatever they want. But what does it cost to have an event like that on a university campus? Ever since Milo Yiannopoulos' event in January sparked protests, KUNM's been trying to find out. 

The New Mexico State Police spent nearly $50,000 providing security when the University of New Mexico hosted Yiannopolous. He presented anti-immigration rhetoric—among other things—and many people say he’s racist. A couple hundred people—mostly students—turned up to protest his appearance on campus.

The New Mexico State Police paid 105 officers to work the event, including an emergency response team and a chopper, according to info we got through a public records request.

But this is not the final total. Officers from Albuquerque, UNM, Bernalillo County and a private security firm were there that night, too. We’re still waiting on how much APD spent. But so far, the overall law enforcement expense is more than $64,000. UNM covered a little less than a quarter of that.

The Albuquerque Journal reported UNM’s president Chaouki Abdallah declined to ban two more speakers from campus, despite students calling for him to do so.

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 and online audio was amended to include more details about the two speakers who may come to UNM. 

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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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