Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro's speech to the University of Utah may have gone off — mostly — without a hitch, but university administrators say they may not be as generous when it comes to providing security for conservative — or any controversial — speakers, if Young America's Foundation or another group decides to repeat the event.
Utah spokesman, Chris Nelson, told the Deseret News that the school is considering asking groups to pony up for security costs if they want to bring controversial speakers onto campus to talk to students. After footing a $25,000 bill for security during Shaprio's event, they claim they don't want to put the "burden" of protecting speakers from their own students on those who pay tuition.
It's a really hard balance between supporting free speech and the cost — the practical reality of these things," Nelson said. "It might be that we have to push this cost back on to student groups to make them a little more cognizant, or help them choose other venues."
No decision has been made, Nelson continued, but Utah is deeply considering the policy change.
Around 60 officers, in several teams, kept the peace outside the YAF Shapiro event. "Hundreds" of protesters mostly squared off with each other in a series of scuffles; the sold out event drew only a handful of pro-Shapiro protesters. The school says it also placed concrete barricades to hold the crowd at bay, and local law enforcement provided additional support, as well as squad cars to close off main roads.
Utah school officials also spent $7,800 traveling to the University of California at Berkeley to see how they handled protests outside Shaprio's event on that campus. Administrators justified that cost, which also came out of tuition expenses, by saying that they needed to learn from Berkeley's example of how to handle rampaging students who were having difficulty processing an opposing viewpoint.
Even though they might have to shell out some cash for another speaker, the Utah YAF chapter says Shapiro's speech was such a success, and they plan to hold other events with other conservative speakers.
"Given the remarkable success achieved by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter and the immense demand for conservative ideas we saw at the University of Utah, I’m sure we will work with (the U. and Young Americans for Freedom) to bring more conservative speakers to their campus,” YAF national spokesman Spencer Brown told Desert News.
Just in case, though, the Utah YAF chapter has started a GoFundMe to help offset any potential future costs.