Boston University Young Americans for Freedom is trying to bring conservative author and radio host Ben Shapiro to campus. Shapiro is one of the most successful young conservatives in the movement and has one of the most popular podcasts in the country.
But according to students and Young America's Foundation [YAF], Boston University officials are doing everything they can to make the event impossible. They've started by levying a $12,000 security fee on the conservative students hosting the event.
"Boston University’s Assistant Dean of Students, John Battaglino, informed BU YAF via email that in order to host Shapiro they must use a smaller venue and pay more than $12,000 in security fees. Once again, administrators are punishing conservative students for the possible actions of intolerant leftists who can’t handle a single conservative appearing on campus," Young America's Foundation released in a statement.
Interestingly, Boston University is the alma mater of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Shapiro is a regular critic of Ocasio-Cortez and has offered to debate her multiple times. She not only refused, but accused Shapiro of "cat-calling" her for extending the invitation.
Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 10, 2018
And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one. pic.twitter.com/rsD17Oq9qe
But the heavy security fee, which is unconstitutional, isn't the only demand the university is making. In fact, Battaglino sent a list of 30 things YAF students must do or comply with before the event can proceed.
–Rather than hosting Shapiro—as planned—in a venue that holds 1,500 people, Boston University administrators are requiring BU YAF to use a venue that seats just 700.
–In addition to this absurd restriction that more than halved the number of students able to hear Shapiro speak, Battaglino informed BU YAF they’ll be on the hook for security fees totaling $12,720—and that’s an estimate that “could change dramatically” if additional information closer to the event “warrants additional response.”
–Instead of an event that is free and open to the public and students from the more than 35 other schools in Boston, administrators have limited attendance, initially at least, to only allow members of the BU community to reserve tickets.
As for the exorbitant security costs, the $12,720 estimate is a result of the decision that, for Ben Shapiro to speak for an hour, there must be:
–40 Boston University Police Department officers
–2 explosive ordnance disposal K9 units
–4 Boston University Police Department officers to direct traffic
–16 security officers from a contracted security vendor
As for the "threat level" BU is claiming to justify the overwhelming security presence, the Shapiro event hadn't been publicly announced before the demands from the university were made.
“Boston University is requiring BU YAF to pay nearly $13,000 and cut the audience capacity in half,” President of the Boston University Young Americans for Freedom chapter Diana Soriano released in a statement. “We’re a bunch of college students who shouldn’t be put on the hook for what administrators are worried antifa might do. Boston University’s decision only encourages leftist agitators to continue their intolerant and often violent opposition to conservative events. If even the chance of antifa activity can scare a school into charging unaffordable security fees that force the cancellation of an event, antifa gets what it wants without lifting a finger."
YAF, which has issued a number of successful lawsuits for similar behavior, plans to fight the demands.
“This act of administrative overreach to limit students’ ability to hear a prominent conservative speak is straight out of the leftist playbook. The restrictions and limits are egregious and must be reversed," YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown added. “Those concerned by this decision or who have a vested interest in the state of intellectual diversity and the free and open exchange of ideas can contact Boston University President Robert A. Brown via firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-353-2200.”