Authored By Spencer Brown
September 18, 2019
Boston University Young Americans for Freedom (BU YAF)—one of the student groups working hard to secure Ben Shapiro for a lecture during the fall semester—has been subjected to bureaucratic maneuvers in the latest instance of administrative attempts to undermine conservative speakers.
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.
In a more than 30-point list of “considerations, costs, and conditions” on the lecture, John Battaglino informed BU YAF they’d only be allowed to host Shapiro if they complied with Boston University’s severely limiting criteria:
–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.
These requirements, according to the administrator’s email are due to “safety and security” concerns. These sticking points, enumerated in the email, interestingly include the ability to “provide security for protestors,” yet providing for the security of BU YAF and Shapiro isn’t a listed consideration.
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
All this for an event that has yet to receive a threat because it hadn’t previously been publicly announced. All because the powers that be at Boston University have decided Ben Shapiro and his mainstream conservative ideas pose so great a threat as to be unmanageable in the planned setting.
“Boston University is requiring BU YAF to pay nearly $13,000 and cut the audience capacity in half,” remarked Diana Soriano, president of the Boston University Young Americans for Freedom. “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 cancelation of an event, antifa gets what it wants without lifting a finger,” she added.
“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,” stated Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown. “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 email@example.com or 617-353-2200.”