Campus Free Speech

U. Pittsburgh Wants YAF to Pay $5,500 Security Fee to Host Ben Shapiro

"It opens the door ... to charge conservatives for more security, whereas leftist speakers are not charged extra fees."

|

Shapiro
Jim Ruymen/UPI/Newscom

Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro is slated to speak at the University of Pittsburgh Wednesday night, but administrators have demanded that the host organization—the Young America's Foundation—pay a whopping $5,500 fee to provide security.

Pittsburgh levied the fee on Monday, giving YAF little time to contest it and possibly jeopardizing future events, the organization said in a statement.

"It allows the administrators to have unfettered discretion in determining what kind of security is needed for an event," said YAF spokesperson Spencer Brown, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It opens the door … to charge conservatives for more security, whereas leftist speakers are not charged extra fees."

YAF has agreed to pay the fee, but is considering a lawsuit, according to The College Fix.

Speaker security fees are a tricky subject, from a free speech perspective. Both the group and the university are in a tough position: conservatives understandably feel discriminated against because of bad actors on the other side of aisle, and administrators understandably don't want to be on the hook for costs stemming from an event someone else organized.

Ultimate blame, of course, lies with those who threaten to shutdown controversial speakers. I have plenty of disagreements with Shapiro, but he is an eloquent and knowledgeable representative of Trump-critical conservatism, and his ideas are worthy of discussion on campus.

NEXT: The 'Frightening and High' Factoid About Sex Offender Recidivism Still Stalks Courts Across the Land, Completely Untethered From Actual Numbers

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. There is nothing more dangerous than a douchy Jewish guy giving a speech. YAF might as well be bringing in a bengal tiger to campus. The university can’t very well let some douchy Jewish guy give a speech. My God, they have a responsibility for the safety of their students. You can’t allow them to be exposed to something that dangerous.

    1. I read that second sentence as bagel tiger…I apologize.

      1. Ugh so anti-Semitic, smh

      2. It is a miracle I didn’t type that.

    2. The university can’t very well let some douchy Jewish guy give a speech.

      You know who else didn’t let douchey Jewish guys give speeches?

      1. The conductor of the orchestra at the Academy Awards?

      2. The Alpha Betas?

      3. Occupy Wall Street?

      4. Adolf Hitler, in an alternate reality where the Jewish faith only admits women to its ranks and it is universally considered grammatically, socially and ethically unacceptable to use the term “guys” to refer to those who identify as female?

  2. Well, yeah, conservative speakers should pay more.
    If they paid the same as liberal speakers, then the University of Pittsburgh (and other re-education camps) would be considered a fair and just institution.
    Then where will UP’s reputation be?

    1. This is the Putz That Ate Pittsburgh. Shapiro is a meance. He has to be under security. Can’t you see that?

      1. He may say things people don’t want to hear, which can damage your eardrums.

        1. He is such a lame douche bag. Is there anything less threatening and less subversive than Shapiro? Its like thinking an accountant is like a Hell’s Angels.

  3. The reason there’s no cause, pretend or otherwise, to charge lefty groups a security fee is that no one on the right cares enough to show up and disrupt the proceedings.

    By charging the fee the University is admitting that the left is willing and able to use violence to shut down events they do not approve of.

  4. It’s a little bit sad that conservatives have to pay more because when they speak their critics riot and vandalize stuff, while progressives don’t have to pay more because their critics don’t riot and vandalize stuff.

    1. Why do you ignore the point that the university could reasonably conclude that conservatives would constitute a security threat in this context? After the weapons-and-armor displays in several relevant contexts, a university would be foolish to disregard threats involving disaffected, ugly right-wingers.

      1. the university could reasonably conclude that conservatives would constitute a security threat in this context

        Why? When have conservatives ever rioted because Shapiro was speaking?

        When have conservatives ever rioted because anyone was speaking?

        1. Some right-wingers are dangerous when they congregate. (As events a couple of miles from the Pitt campus recently demonstrated, some right-wingers are, alone, a lethal risk to congregations.)

          There are plenty of backward, mainstream-disdaining people within a one-hour drive of Pitt’s campus (Pittsburgh has been called ‘the Paris of Appalachia’), and they don’t often have much reason to visit Pitt or Pittsburgh. Shapiro’s appearance could reasonably be expected to draw disaffected right-wingers to campus.

          1. You said reasonably, I don’t think you know what that word means

        2. Kirkland has just conclusively demonstrated that he’s a troll. There’s no way any sentient being who hasn’t been in a coma for the last two years could try to draw the conclusion that he’s trying to draw.

          It’s either that or he’s wearing a helmet and holding a drool bucket.

          1. Why not both?

      2. What if they’re more like a 6 or 7 on the attractiveness scale, though? I mean, that right there throws all your calculations right off.

        1. With respect to attractiveness of character, many of them are in the 2-to-3 range. Think Bowers, the Jim Quinn fan who killed Jews in Pittsburgh recently because he thought the Jews were being nice to immigrants and thereby ‘committing genocide on his [white, dull, bigoted] people.’

          1. Yeah. Wouldn’t it be great if there just weren’t any right-wingers in America at all? Then no one would have to worry about political violence against public speakers at all.

            1. Exactly. There needs to be some sort of facility, or school, or camp, where right-wingers can be taught the errors of their ways.

              Or maybe we can use some sort of positive-negative reinforcement. Maybe fiscal incentives. Maybe like a special tax or something.

              1. There needs to be some sort of facility, or school, or camp, where right-wingers can be taught the errors of their ways

                Most strong, reason-based liberal-libertarian universities fit that bill.

            2. Wouldn’t it be great if there just weren’t any right-wingers in America at all?

              We will be better off when the bigoted, old-timey right-wingers die off and are replaced by better people. Until then, they diminish the entirety of movement conservatism.

              The University of Pittsburgh features one of America’s finest philosophy departments, tracing back to the arrival of Dr. Adolph Grunbaum. Your leap from ‘some right-wingers are disaffected bigots and some of those bigots are violent’ to ‘that means we should rid ourselves of all right-wingers to eliminate all violence against public speakers’ indicates an opportunity to benefit from a logic class.

              1. What about the logic that if someone speaks their mind then is attacked it’s not the speaker that is the security risk.

                1. What about the logic that if someone speaks their mind then is attacked it’s not the speaker that is the security risk.

                  Who advanced that argument?

                  Planning security for a controversial or provocative event could and probably should involve considering more than one prospective attacker and more than one prospective target.

              2. Says the commenter (probably a superstitious cultist, no less, if his username is anything to go by) who apparently thinks that “left-wing violence against speakers at universities” is a sufficiently significant and consistent threat to warrant increased security on its own merits.

                What fourth-tier shithole did you graduate from, that taught you that assertion is “logical”, hmm? Clearly a textbook example of the kettle calling the pot black, here.

                1. probably a superstitious cultist

                  Congregation Of Exalted Reason, my son. No superstition involved.

                  who apparently thinks that “left-wing violence against speakers at universities” is a sufficiently significant and consistent threat to warrant increased security on its own merits

                  What made that apparent? Why the qualification involving “left-wing violence?”

                  1. Congregation Of Exalted Reason, my son.

                    Ah. My apologies, I didn’t realize I was speaking to an adherent of rationalism and empiricism.

                    What made that apparent? Why the qualification involving “left-wing violence?”

                    I am beginning to see I have gravely misjudged your educational attainment. You see, when you criticized my comment above, I thought you were contradicting my observation that if there were no right-wingers in America, there would no longer be enough of a threat to public speakers to merit costly security measures. But if you are in fact conceding that point, or it was not your intention to deny it in the first place, than clearly your intellectual bona fides are of a very different character than might have been fairly assumed, and it is only right for me to hereby re-invite you to the ranks of the credentialed, respectable, and mainstream.

      3. Conservatives are a security threat because people protesting them cause a security threat…

        If murder victims didn’t get murdered, then nobody would have to be jailed for murder! Victims of crime cause incarceration!

        1. Some conservatives are a problem because losing the culture war, economic inadequacy, religious zealotry, and bigotry have angered them. When they congregate with armor and weapons, or start to chant ‘Jews will not replace us,’ comparisons to murder victims seem silly.

          1. Sure, some conservatives are a problem, as are some liberals, some politically-agnostic people, some white people, some brown people, etc.

            This is a conversation about groups being penalized because their critics are such unhinged loons that it’s reasonable to believe there may be violence perpetrated against the group in question.

      4. It isn’t the conservatives making threats.

  5. I love that it’s security fee and not a damage deposit. They aren’t holding funds in case there is violence, they assume the leftists will be violent and are charging the YAF for it.

    I don’t see how this isn’t a slam dunk case of breech of contract with some RICO/Extortion charges on the side.

    “Sure is a nice speaking engagement you have there, sure would be a shame if something happened to it.”

    1. I love that it’s security fee and not a damage deposit. They aren’t holding funds in case there is violence, they assume the leftists will be violent and are charging the YAF for it.

      I figure the funds are to be spent on security. Have you ever organized an event involving more than one person?

      Do you believe a university should disregard the prospect that disaffected right-wingers attracted to this event could bring problems to campus?

      I don’t see how this isn’t a slam dunk case of breech of contract with some RICO/Extortion charges on the side.

      This is precisely the level of legal insight I expect to encounter at a movement conservative blog with a thin academic and legal veneer.

      1. Do you believe a university should disregard the prospect that disaffected right-wingers attracted to this event could bring problems to campus?

        Are you really going to double-down on pretending that this is what the concern is? That when Shapiro, Yiannapolous, Murray, and Coulter go to speak on college campuses that it’s “disaffected right-wingers” who cause the problems on campus?

        Really?

        1. The reports that right-wingers took armor and weapons to Charlottesville for a conservative event seemed credible, although perhaps not to half-educated, intolerant rubes.

          1. “Reports”. Probably pulled out of your ass. As opposed to dozens of actual videos of those on the left committing violence to try to shut down a speaker of whom they disapproved.

            Now we actually know why you’re always ranting about half-educated rubes. It’s jealousy. Those people are smarter than you and you can’t stand it.

          2. Charlottesville was not a conservative event. It was an extreme, far right, radical event! The average conservative wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole, much like the average liberal wouldn’t come anywhere near a screaming mob of lefty antifa types.

  6. administrators have demanded that the host organization?the Young America’s Foundation?pay a whopping $5,500 fee to provide security.

    I trust YAF will demand the resignation of administrators so incompetent they are unable to provide security. The university handles football games, right?

    1. Lefties attempting to disrupt football games are a very temporary problem.

    2. You figure the university doesn’t pay for security at football games?

      Have you ever visited a strong, mainstream, liberal-libertarian campus?

      1. libertarian campus

        Where is this?

        1. Essentially all of America’s strong universities are operated in and by the liberal-libertarian mainstream.

          The campuses controlled by conservatives, however, tend to be censorship-shackled, fourth-tier, nonsense teaching goober factories. Perhaps these points are confusing some people.

          1. I know you’re trolling, but could you at least go back to pretending to be intelligent?

            In what world do libertarians try to shut down free speech?

            1. In what world do libertarians constitute more than 2% of any cohort?

            2. He is an NPC. Pay him no mind.

  7. Does this Ben Shapiro character say hateful, science-denying stuff like “people are whatever gender their chromosomes and genitalia determine they are”? Because if so it’s understandable that marginalized students would feel triggered by his presence on campus.

    1. I believe he says exactly those things.

    2. As opposed to a made up gender existing only in someone’s mind? So scientific, that is.

      And please, just stop with this triggering nonsense.

      Oops, I responded to it. I say that means its post is worthy of an A. The first one I’ve ever given.

  8. Speaker security fees are a tricky subject, from a free speech perspective.

    Not really just end all government involvement and then the schools can be free to set whatever policy they want for outside speakers and their customers/students can make a decision before enrolling.

    1. Speaker security fees aren’t tricky at all. If the government can’t protect the people’s right to give and hear speeches, then it has no reason to exist.

    2. Speaker security fees are a tricky subject, from a free speech perspective.

      See mine and others’ assertions about crowds and sports above. Speaker security fees might be a tricky subject if a local youth group pinched pennies to get Ben Shapiro to speak and the only venue nearby that could host him is the bingo hall managed by The Little Sisters Of the Poor.

      Otherwise, the university employs all manner of security for all manner of events (including graduation speeches) all the time. Even likely having their own police force. As I indicated, the fact that it’s a fee rather than a deposit means that they’re charging to pay people to show up and perform security duties whether violence happens or not. Either they know the violence will happen or they’re blatantly lining pockets.

      1. Either they know the violence will happen or they’re blatantly lining pockets.

        Could be both. As you point out, they have all manner of security for other kinds of events, those security personnel are going to be paid whether violent fucktards show up and break shit or not, and if when those violent fucktards show up and break shit, the University probably has insurance to cover damage caused by the violent fucktards, so they’re just lining pockets. And they know the violent fucktards will show up and break shit because that’s exactly what they’ve conditioned them to do whenever they hear opinions they don’t like.

  9. Well ok then.

    Evanston voters have approved an increase in the real estate transfer tax for purchases of $1.5 million or more. The measure passed yesterday with the support of just over 52 percent of voters.

    Roughly 17,000 people voted in favor of the measure, while nearly 15,500 voted against it, according to data from the Cook County clerk’s office.

    The measure asked voters whether the city of Evanston should adopt a real estate transfer tax increase of 40 percent to establish a new transfer tax rate of $7 for every $1,000 of value for sales between $1.5 million and $5 million and an increase of 80 percent to establish a new rate of $9 for every $1,000 of value for sales over $5 million. Evanston’s current rate is $5 for every $1,000 of value.

    The revenue will be designated to Evanston’s general fund and used for public safety, public health, parks and recreation services, street improvements and other city services.

    1. other city services

      The biggest budget category.

    2. So, they just boosted the cost of all home sales by 0.7%?

      1. So, they just boosted the cost of all home sales by 0.7%?

        Yes and no. That doesn’t go into your mortgage – it comes out of your pocket at the time of sale. On a $300k house, that’s $2,100 out of pocket to close the deal. So it’s 0.7%, but it’s an out-sized 0.7% from a “time-value of money” angle.

        1. . On a $300k house, that’s $2,100 out of pocket to close the deal.

          No, it’s zero because the house isn’t over $1.5 M.

          Still sucks though.

          1. No, it’s zero because the house isn’t over $1.5 M.

            Right – missed that part. So, then, $10,500 out-of-pocket for a $1.5M house, on the assumption that the city won’t find cause to lower that limit when it needs revenue in the future.

      2. No, only for those who have stolen 1.5 to 5 million dollars worth of land from The People.

  10. his ideas are worthy of discussion on campus.

    Where did millenial faggots get the idea that normal people talk like this?

  11. If only there were some third, self-selected group of people that could be made to pay for the damage caused or costs incurred by a third, self-selected group of people.

    1. Well, they wear masks, soo . . .

      1. So do burglars. Yet the cops can usually manage to find them… if they robbed someone important, anyway.

        Which I suppose leads us back to the real problem with these colectivos.

  12. School: You need to pay for protection
    Conservatives: protection from who?
    School: us

    1. That’s a nice little conservative group you got there… be a shame if somethin’ happened to it…

  13. Again with the to-be-sure:

    “Both the group and the university are in a tough position: conservatives understandably feel discriminated against because of bad actors on the other side of aisle, and administrators understandably don’t want to be on the hook for costs stemming from an event someone else organized.”

    The costs from vandalism and disruption “stem” from a conservative event the same way a rape “stems” from the woman’s short skirt.

  14. This flap should be good publicity for the YAF event. Back in the day, a YAF chapter in California got a huge crowd out to hear reformed Commie Phil Luce when opponents smeared swastikas on every poster YAF put up to publicize his appearance.

  15. This is an old tactic – my university was doing it back in 2002. The key to the tactic is not the absolute amount of money for security, but the fact that the amount isn’t disclosed until after the speaker is booked, so unless the student group has $5-10k on hand or is able to raise it quickly, the event gets cancelled.

    1. Freaking disaffected conservatives!

  16. Is there any way you could both sides this argument like you usually do with violence?

  17. This wouldn’t be an issue if unruly protesters where faced with administrative action by the schools. Just expel anyone physical and put on probation people who won’t shut up and after some weeping and gnashing of teeth college students would drop this shit.

    1. Whoa, let’s save expulsion for more serious offenses like unsubstantiated sexual assault claims

  18. You know if the YAF is bitching about the unfairness of security fees being different for progressive speakers than for conservative speakers, there are two ways to look at it. You could lower the security fees for conservative speakers or you could raise the security fees for progressive speakers. Now given that the university has already given their rationale for the higher fees as being “a prospect of violence” well, it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out how to make it so the university raises its security fees for progressive speakers, should it?

  19. The important practical point here is that College Republicans are unable to compete with reasoned arguments and instead are relegated to inviting (and often providing student dollars to) stale-thinking right-wing provocateurs and clowns (Ann Coulter, Milo, etc.) to campuses in an attempt to seem relevant among educated young Americans. These appearances seem destined to make conservatism even less attractive on strong American campuses, branding movement conservatism with bigotry and backwardness for a generation.

    But don’t worry, conservatives — they’re probably cultivating plenty of young right-wingers and building the future of the Republican Party at Oral Roberts, Wheaton, Grove City, and Ouachita Baptist.

    1. Not sure what’s more stale-thinking than constant ad hominem attacks from a troll on a libertarian magazine comment section.

      I would pay a security fee to watch someone like you debate Shapiro.

      1. Glad as I am that Volokh found a home here, having TRAK follow them here is an unfortunate side effect.

        At least Tony and PB display the occasional flash of wit.

        1. A libertarian website is an odd home for a polemical right-wing blog, even if the comment section of that blog has been overrun by authoritarian, intolerant conservatives and Republicans.

          If right-wingers wanted or appreciated wit, conservative entertainment — comedy in particular — would not be such a desolate, pathetic wasteland. No wonder Republicans are such sourpusses.

  20. Drop a lawsuit.

    The college should pick up the security tab since its their students causing the trouble requiring security.

    1. I would not describe the conservative stragglers who brought Mr. Shapiro to Pitt as ‘causing trouble.’ Students with unpopular opinions have rights, too.

  21. How ironic it is that the conservative Young America’s Foundation has to pay a whopping $5,500 fee to provide security when it is not members of this foundation that is causing the trouble. Yet any liberal to radical left leaning group can have these meetings without having to foot security bill. Why? That is simple. The conservatives don’t attack them liberals causing the damage that the liberals do when they attack the right.

  22. Remember when Matthew Yglesias got doxxed days after Tucker Carlson had a bunch of rioters outside his house?

    Does anyone remember reading any evidence that one single person showed up at his house to bother him? Man, those hateful conservatives.

  23. A Pitt News report indicates Pitt and its students handled this event well. Shapiro spoke without untoward incident, bringing an unpopular perspective to campus for students to consider. Protesters were peaceful.

    The use of “sold out” to describe an event whose tickets were distributed to students without charge seems inapt.

  24. We can override the heckler’s veto for a small bribe.

  25. I have plenty of disagreements with Shapiro…

    So entered into the record.

    1. Robby would like to remind us that Shapiro is Not OK to be sure

  26. My college let a Russian member of parliament speak and he was known to have antisemitic beliefs. There was a small group of Jewish protesters outside the auditorium handing out flyers about why he was problematic. He spoke. We went to hear him, because seeing a siting Duma member speak seemed historic and my husband at the time studied WWII and the holocaust and he took lots of notes.

    So problematic speakers should speak. If the college knows a speaker is going to draw violent protest, then either they cancel those speakers or have to pay a huge amount in security. One university paid over $50,000 in security to protect one Neo-Nazi speaker. They did a great job. He got about 20 people to come and listen to him speak. His goals was to create violence and all the barriers and security prevented that, so he walked off bored after a few minutes. He wasn’t actually interested in free speech.

    This speaker is an author and attorney. So I think he has some ideas he wants to share is isn’t looking to cause violence. However, if a university is aware that violent clashes are likely they have to charge for security.

    Maybe a fair way to do it is charge all speakers a security fee. College is the time to challenge your ideas and ways of thinking and speakers from the entire political spectrum should speak.

  27. Progressives will support such fees, but watch them protest the National Park Service’s proposal for clean-up and porta-potty fees for large demonstrations on the National Mall.

  28. “Speaker security fees are a tricky subject”

    They aren’t at all. You just treat it as any other viewpoint neutral process like giving groups rooms or tables at student events. Estimate cost of security for the year and either charge that as a fee across all students or as a flat rate to any group bringing in an outside speaker. Progressive violence will end up costing progressive groups more and conservative groups less.

  29. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you……
    http://www.geosalary.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.