UC Berkeley officials say campus Republicans will have to pay about $10,000 for security to host ultra-conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos on Feb. 1.
In an interview last week, campus spokesman Dan Mogulof said the amount is "only a ballpark figure," which university police would pin down once the Berkeley College Republicans files the required paperwork to request campus police services.
"The final estimate is based solely on objective criteria," Mogulof said, which includes the number of people expected to attend the event, entrance fees, whether the speech is open to the public, the venue, its location and number of exits.
Yiannopoulos is a critic of feminism, was vocal during the "Gamergate" controversy, and has been called a spokesman for the alt-right. He was permanently banned from Twitter in July 2016 for what the company described as "inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others." The majority of students and professors at UC Berkeley campus, on the other hand, lean left.
An organization called Antifa Berkeley is organizing a counter-protest on Feb. 1. The group is dedicated to anti-fascist action, according to its Facebook page, and is also meeting on Sunday, Jan. 8 to plan for direct action during Yiannopoulos' speech.
Charging student groups for security costs is standard practice at UC Berkeley.
"Additional security costs that come as a result of attributes of events. Those are security costs that the campus must assume," he added.
Celine Bookin, Berkeley College Republicans spokeswoman, complained to the Daily Californian that the high estimate would indirectly block to Yiannopoulos' speech because her group couldn't raise enought money to pay for security for the event.
David Craig, the organization's treasurer, told the student newspaper that the College Republicans get a grant of about $7,500 from the Associated Students of the University of California.
Campus officials said the College Republicans' invitation doesn't mean the university is endorsing Yiannopoulos or his views.
The First Amendment prohibits the university from censoring events or banning speakers, Mogulof said. As a separate legal entitiy, the College Republicans invited and will host Yiannopoulous.
"While we realize that the presence of certain speakers is very likely to upset some members of our campus community, the U.S. Constitution, and thus university policy, prevent campus administration from barring invited speakers from campus based on the viewpoints those speakers may express," Mogulof said in a written statement.