The letter addressed to acting President Chaouki Abdallah states the decision to allow Milo Yiannopoulos, a British controversial right-wing speaker, undermines the university’s goal of creating a safe environment for students to learn.
The group specifically criticized an administrative decision that allowed the UNM College Republicans, the group hosting the speaker, to avoid a $3,400 security fee. The university could still collect that fee following a legal review of a policy covering student events and security charges.
“Why should one invited media pundit be given so much university attention and allocation of resources so that he can have his rights to preach hate?” they asked in the letter.
Yiannopoulos, who is gay, visited campus as part of his “Dangerous Faggot Tour.” In his speech at UNM, he said Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to enter the country and that the audience should report undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Yiannopoulos’ event at UNM drew protests both from those who thought the fee was an attempt to prevent the firebrand from speaking and those who believe his comments to be hate speech. Those who signed the letter fall into the latter category.
That group also wrote that the university should reinstate the security fee policy and charge what the event cost the university. They also want forums to discuss free speech vs. “fighting words,” those meant to incite violence, and the role of police on campus.