Two weeks ago, it was confirmed Breitbart News reporter and senior tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to hold a lecture at this university, accepting an invitation from Terps for Trump.
Four days before the event, the university increased the security fee by $2,000. The organization made a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise the funds, but ultimately fell short and had to cancel Yiannopoulos’ appearance.
The event was a stop on Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous Faggot Tour,” intended for college students. He was scheduled for Oct. 26. Tickets had already sold out, per the now-closed Eventbrite page.
The university reasoned the increased security fee stemmed from Yiannopoulos receiving violent threats at Florida Atlantic University.
“As an organization, we feel that our attempt to bring Milo to the University of Maryland was only inhibited by the intolerant and often hostile reaction to opposing viewpoints that has grown increasingly common today,” Matthew Morris, the president of Terps for Trump, told The Diamondback.
The Writer’s Bloc could not reach Terps for Trump for comment.
Government and politics teaching assistant Jared McDonald felt the increased charge was “more a matter of pragmatism.” He said just as a city would hire more police for an event such as a marathon, it makes sense the university would hire more security for an event, especially one featuring such a controversial speaker.
Yiannopoulos’ appearance sparked some criticism, as he has made controversial statements in the past concerning race, gender and sexual orientation, among other topics. He was banned from Twitter in July for his constant insults against comedian Leslie Jones concerning her being the only African-American team member in the new Ghostbusters.
Since kicking off his tour, Yiannopoulos has encountered several hiccups and obstacles. Students from several colleges and universities listed on Yiannopoulos’ tour have protested his arrival. The University of Alabama planned on charging the school’s College Republicans a $7,000 security fee, but later reversed the decision. At DePaul University, a video showed one student rushing the stage, snatching Yiannopoulos’ microphone and almost physically assaulting him. Villanova, New York University and University of Miami cancelled the events altogether.
“These days, it’s the administration that runs these places, and the administration is solely dedicated to making money,” Yiannopoulos said.
The cancellation of several of his tour dates has raised the debate of the true meaning of freedom of speech.
The First Amendment does not police obscenities. Rather, it has become indoctrinated in American society that certain things should not be said if it is widely considered derogatory. Yiannopoulos, however, has thoroughly advocated freedom of speech at face value, including obscenities or otherwise offensive subject matter.
“The key is making sure limits are strictly defined,” McDonald said.
For him to consider something obscene, it would have to be very extreme. “What Milo’s saying aren’t obscenities,” he said.
In defense of himself, Yiannopoulos told an audience at the University of Delaware that despite his cancelled appearance at the University of Maryland, he will eventually hold a lecture here “come hell or high water,” as the university is a public institution.
“The University of Maryland better know that I am coming for them,” he said.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of WikiCommons.
Ayana Archie is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.