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UNM president suspends security fee for free speech events pending review

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Chaouki Abdallah is interim president of UNM. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo Yiannopoulos

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico acting president Chaouki Abdallah has waived a £3,400 security fee for free speech type events including for the Friday talk by controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos. Abdallah released the following statement: “The University of New Mexico is committed to the principles of free speech, and values our role as a marketplace of ideas in the community. Within this context, I have carefully considered the concerns expressed by the Regents in last Friday’s meeting regarding the police and security services policy and how its application may impact free speech on campus.

As a result, I am directing the immediate suspension and application of that portion of the policy that results in fees for security and police protection, pending a thorough policy review.” He released the statement late Wednesday, following earlier in the day a panel of First Amendment experts who said such a divisive speaker such as Yiannopoulos may “spew hate” or make the campus community’s “blood boil,” but it’s his right. The event was tied to the talk by Yiannopoulos, a controversial right-wing provocateur and writer for Breitbart News.

Greg Williams, a First Amendment attorney, said it “stings” when someone uses discriminatory language or advocates for the mistreatment of some societal groups, and one might ask why such speech should be tolerated.

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Continue reading[1] “That’s the price you pay so that your speech isn’t limited when there are people that are not going to agree with what you say,” Williams said. The attorneys also included Martin Esquivel, who specializes in free speech, and Eliza Bechtold, the legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico.

Yiannopoulos, who is gay, is scheduled to visit campus Friday as part of his “Dangerous Faggot Tour.” He has written articles for Breitbart with headlines such as “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews,” and was permanently banned from Twitter in connection with a harassment campaign that included racist insults directed at actress Leslie Jones.

Journal Staff Writer Chris Quintana contributed to this report

References

  1. ^ Continue reading (www.abqjournal.com)

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