Cal Poly says money well spent for Yiannopoulos event security

Feb 2, 2017

Cal Poly officials say the university spent $15,800 on policing and temporary fencing for Tuesday evening’s Milo Yiannopoulos appearance and other campus events. The California State University system spent another $39,600 on salaries for the 90 police officers sent from other campuses to join Cal Poly police.

There was a total of 109 police officers on hand for the night’s events, according to Cal Poly spokesperson Matt Lazier. Lazier said the university spent the money because it expected protesters to try to shut down the Yiannopoulos event. 

The university’s president said Cal Poly was ready for a worst-case scenario, such as the one that happened prior to a scheduled Yiannopoulos appearance on the UC Berkeley campus Wednesday night. The event there was canceled after a non-student faction joined protesters demonstrating against Yiannopoulos’ appearance and turned violent and destructive.

At Cal Poly, there were no arrests or violent altercations, said Lazier.

“As we have seen at other recent events both before and after the one at Cal Poly, Milo Yiannopoulos’s appearances have sometimes led to unrest and violence,” Cal Poly president Jeffrey Armstrong said in a statement.”I believe [preparing for the worst] is what allowed us to avoid it, maintain calm and give everyone an opportunity to express their voice.”

The campus police department paid for food and lodging for all the visiting officers. Cal Poly officials did not disclose this amount.

Yiannopoulos was invited to the Cal Poly campus by the university’s College Republicans group. One protester told KCBX he thought the money the university spent on security for the Yiannopoulos event should have gone towards hiring more faculty. 

A few hundred students and community members turned out to protest near the Spanos Theater, where Yiannopoulos spoke. As demonstrators chanted in opposition to Yiannopoulos’ expressed viewpoints, a protester called the police presence on the campus “terrifyingly militaristic.”