Milo Yiannapoulos has come and gone from UNM campus, but some members of the University community aren't shying away from pressuring administrators to reinstate a previously suspended security fee to the hosting group, UNM College Republicans, alleging that UNM gives "preferential treatment...to guests who engage in racist hate speech.

The concerns were raised to UNM administrators in the form of a letter, signed by over 200 students, staff and faculty, as well as student groups such as KIVA Club and MEChA. Those groups were part of a coalition that were attempting to cancel the event beforehand. 

The letter outlines concerns for how different groups are treated by administration, as well as questions the justification of closing University facilities early for the event and "sanctioning an aggressive and militarized police presence" for the event. 



"As a result of this decision, UNM was complicit in the use of police violence on its own campus against its own students in squelching the speech of peaceful protesters in order to protect the speech of a white supremacist," the letter states. "Such actions are unacceptable and hypocritical for an administration that claims to be protecting 'free speech' and the safety of those on campus."

MORE: Security fee policy under review due to free speech concerns

The letter also points out that UNM "subsidized" the cost of having Yiannopoulos on campus at a time in which the University finds itself in a dire financial situation. It criticizes Yiannopoulos for allegedly intimating minority communities, as well as UNM for "undermining" the work done in recent years to creator a safer climate on campus. 

The letter, in its entirety, can be found below. According to one individual who helped write the letter, it was sent to acting UNM President Chaouki Abdallah on Tuesday, but they have yet to get a response. 


Dear Acting President Chaouki Abdallah,

We are writing as faculty, staff, and students concerned about your recent decision to allow the Milo Yiannopoulos event to proceed on campus in the name of free speech while going a step further and suspending the security fee for the event.

The speaker proudly calls himself a “professional troll.” He was banned from Twitter for committing and inciting hate speech, and he disparages women, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, Latinxs, and immigrants under the guise of comedy and free speech. He engages in hate speech designed to provoke violence, which we believe constitute “fighting words” that are not protected under the First Amendment and are antithetical to UNM policies (e.g., Regents' Policy Manual - Section 2.4: Diversity and Campus Climate; Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 2240: Respectful Campus; particularly section 4). During his speech at UNM, he posted on screen the ICE hotline for audience members to call in order to “purge your local illegals.” These statements are clearly made to intimidate Communities of Color, including undocumented members of our community. Statements made throughout his past writings and speeches serve to incite discrimination and acts of violence based on perceived race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The UNM administration has spent recent years working to increase awareness against sexual harassment and sexual violence, to build a safer climate for all through support and advocacy efforts, compliant with the federally- mandated laws of Title IX and the Clery Act. The university’s handling of this event profoundly undermines this work. By giving this speaker a platform to spread discriminatory views, by rescinding the security fee—and then marshalling state and local police force to aggressively suppress student protests, UNM and the Board of Regents have undercut stated goals of creating a safe learning environment on this campus.

The decision to waive the security fee, apparently made following a January 23 Albuquerque Journal editorial and subsequent pressure by the regents, sends a message that media pundits who promote violence against certain communities are provided special access to public space at the University of New Mexico. The fact that biased media sites, such as Breitbart, featured this as a victory for their cause is telling. UNM assumed the financial costs of Yiannopoulos’ visit by subsidizing the security costs, forcing staff off campus early, banning students, faculty and staff from using central university resources, and most disconcertingly, sanctioning an aggressive and militarized police presence on campus that targeted UNM community members who sought to exercise their right to peacefully protest the speaker. As a result of this decision, UNM was complicit in the use of police violence on its own campus against its own students in squelching the speech of peaceful protesters in order to protect the speech of a white supremacist. Such actions are unacceptable and hypocritical for an administration that claims to be protecting “free speech” and the safety of those on campus. We heard reports such as the following from those present:

●  From a UNM undergraduate: “My friend [from] next door got arrested. He’s black and has never been aggressive. He was at the front line with his hoodie on and his back toward the police. They put him in a choke hold and threw him to the ground. I was trying to console my friend (the fiancé of the guy who got arrested), and they came in on us at the side and one SWAT cop came in with the baton and shoved it in my chest and asked if I wanted to be arrested tonight. It was so scary.”

●  A UNM graduate student posted the following account on social media: “Tonight I am left with so much disappointment, anger, and disgust at the University of New Mexico, a supposed Hispanic Serving Institute. Today I witnessed the militarization and the excessive use of force by riot police on a University campus, all in the name of protecting free speech. The University clearly showed tonight that they value and respect some students over others. Because while white, conservative alt-right students were inside being protected by police from SEVERAL police departments and surrounded by AR15s pointed outward, other students from various coalitions were outside practicing THEIR right to free speech and THEIR right to peacefully assemble. And this is where it became clear that the University values the rights of some students while blatantly allowing the violation of the rights of other students. Students of color, queer, Muslim, undocumented students united to stand against hate tonight. Very quickly the peaceful protest was declared an illegal protest and riot gear and horses were used against these students. The University clearly allowed for the right to free speech of one group at the expense of the bodies and free speech rights of countless others. While it shouldn't be surprising, I am nevertheless disgusted that the University very willfully chose to not protect and keep safe ALL of its students. I am however heartened by the surge of love and solidarity between so many groups that stood outside. Inside the SUB the hatred was palpable and I'm extremely saddened to see the amount of students so enthusiastically engaging in hate.”

Faculty in need of valuable academic and financial resources are continually told that our institution is in a financial crisis. This reality is demonstrated as faculty and staff are continuing year after year without raises while we see benefit costs rapidly increase. Now we’re also being asked to make these sacrifices while the University subsidizes the costs of hosting individuals who call our students “dirty” and ask UNM students and community to turn in the undocumented to federal officials. Why should one invited media pundit be given so much university attention and allocation of resources so that he can have his rights to preach hate?

We strongly advise you in the interests of students, staff, faculty and UNM community members to reinstate and charge the security fee based on what the event actually cost the institution. Otherwise, be prepared to face many requests on the part of various student organizations to be reimbursed for the events they sponsor that feature public speakers, cultural workers, and community educators, as these fees have not been enforced (or retracted) equally across student groups. For example, members of the KIVA club and the College Democrats have reported paying this fee in recent years. This suggests that UNM gives preferential treatment, under the guise of First Amendment protections, only to guests who engage in racist hate speech.

In addition, we request community forums to discuss the role of police on UNM’s campus and to better define UNM’s policy on protected free speech vs. “fighting words” intended to provoke violence, the latter of which should be neither supported nor allowed on campus.

We look forward to hearing your response to our letter. 

Sincerely,

Adrian Johnston, Professor, Philosophy
Todd Ruecker, Assistant Professor, English
Irene Vasquez, Associate Professor, American Studies and Chicana and Chicano Studies Bethany Davila, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Lisa Cacari Stone, Associate Professor, College of Population Health
David Correia, Associate Professor, American Studies
Ruth Trinidad Galván, Associate Professor, Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies Cristyn Elder, Assistant Professor, English
Katherine Crawford-Garrett, Assistant Professor, Teacher Education, Educational Leadership and Policy
Kency Cornejo, Assistant Professor, Art and Art History
Myrriah Gómez, Assistant Professor, Honors College
Alyosha Goldstein, Associate Professor, American Studies
Bernadine Hernández, Assistant Professor, English
Shiv R. Desai, Assistant Professor, Teacher Education, Educational Leadership, & Policy Lindsay Lowe Worthington, Assistant Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Mary B. Quinn, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Gary Weissmann, Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Corinne Myers, Assistant Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Laura Crossey, Professor, Earth & Planetary Sciences
Marios Pattichis, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
R. Lee Montgomery. Art Department
Rebecca Schreiber, Associate Professor, American Studies
Dominika Laster, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance
Damián Wilson, Assistant Professor, Spanish & Portuguese
Mia Sosa-Provencio, Assistant Professor, Teacher Education Educational Leadership and Policy
Ana R. Alonso-Minutti, Assistant Professor of Music
Virginia Díaz, Doctoral Student, Department of American Studies
Jonathan Davis-Secord, Associate Professor, English
Bee Chamcharatsri, Assistant Professor, Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies and English
Chloë Courtney, MA Student, Department of Art and Art History
Jeremy Lehnen, Assistant Professor, Spanish & Portuguese
Lara Gunderson, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology

Leila Lehnen, Associate Professor, Spanish & Portuguese
Amaris Ketcham, Assistant Professor, Honors College
Christopher Holden, Associate Professor, Honors College
Suzanne M. Schadl, Associate Professor, College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences Kyle Fiore, Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature

Szu-Han Ho, Assistant Professor, Art & Art History
Charla Henley, MA Latin American Studies, Study Abroad Advisor, Global Education Office Nick DePascal, Term Teaching Faculty, Department of English
Stephie Minjung Kang, MA Rhetoric and Writing, Core Writing Instructor, Department of English Victor Andrew Oneschuck, MA student, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of History Brenna Gomez, Core Writing Instructor, Department of English
Vanessa Cornwall, Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Political Science
Walter Oliver Baker, PhD candidate, Core Writing Instructor, Department of English
María del Pilar File-Muriel, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology
Annie Olson, Instructor, Department of English
Sarah Townsend, Assistant Professor, English
Lisa Tremaine, Art Director, UNM Press
Steven Romero, Department Administrator, Political Science
Nancy Bennett, Library Operations Manager, University Libraries
Marie Landau, Senior Production Editor, University of New Mexico Press
Marisa P. Clark, Ph.D., Principal Lecturer, Department of English
Amy Jankowski, Assistant Professor, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences
Alex Lubin, Professor, American Studies Department
Daniel C. Barkley, Professor Emeritus, University Libraries
Cat Hubka, Teaching Assistant, Department of English
Jason Merriam, B.A. Student, Classics and Philosophy
Ana June, Instructor, Department of English
Aeron Haynie, Associate Professor of English
Kayla Russo, Administrative Assistant 2, Department of Internal Medicine, Office of Education Jennifer Denetdale, Associate Professor, American Studies
Julie Shigekuni, Professor, English Department
Wendy Louise Pedersen, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences
Amy Winter, Program Specialist. College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences
Lori Townsend, Associate Professor, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences Carolyn Woodward, Associate Professor, Department of English
Patricia Boverie, Professor, Organization, Information, & Learning Sciences
Wanda Y. Day, Library Information Specialist III, University Libraries
Alyssa Russo, Assistant Professor, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences Katherine Marie Alexander, Doctoral Student, Department of English
Jason Thayer, Instructor, Department of English
Greg Martin, Professor of English, Director, Combined BA/MD Degree Program
Kalyn Finnell, Graduate Student, Latin American Studies and Community & Regional Planning Lisa Chavez, Associate Professor of English
Jonathan Hartshorn, LIS III, University Libraries, FADL

Hannah Epstein, UNM Senior Enrollment Management Representative, MA Philosophy UNM Carlos Rodriguez, Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology
Jesús Costantino, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Kat Heatherington, Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Art

Amy Harrison, Graduate Student, Department of Art Education
Gabriela Lopez, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Psychology
Ray Hernandez-Duran, Associate Professor, Department of Art
Alice Donahue, Master’s Student, Latin American Studies
Scott Freundschuh, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies Nora Hickey, Term Instructor, Honors College

Malaka Friedman, MA Rhetoric and Writing, Core Writing Instructor, Department of English Zoe Speidel, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of English
Laura Berkowitz, Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology
Ryan Harvey, Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychology

Elizabeth Sneddon, Administrative Assistant I, Office of Career Services
Sever Bordeianu, Professor, University Libraries
Harriet Engle, Prospective Student (but reconsidering)
Vanessa Svihla, Assistant Professor, Organization, Information & Learning Sciences Patricia Rodriguez Espinosa, Ph.D. Candidate, Psychology Department

David Puthoff, Ph.D. Student, English Department, and Teaching Assistant
Erin Galvez, Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant, Department of Art and Art History Matthew Irwin, Ph.D. Student, American Studies
India Rael Young, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art and Art History
Laurel Lampela, Professor, Department of Art and Art History
Ashley Hooper, M.W.R, Department of Water Resources Alumna
Ara Winter, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biology
Lisa Barrow, B.A., 2011
Margaret Leicester, PhD Student and Instructor, Language, Literacy & Sociocultural Studies Vincent M. Basso, PhD Candidate, Department of English Language and Literature
Regan Claire Perry, B.A., 2012
Celestina Mancha, B.S., 2010
Diane Torres-Velásquez, Associate Professor, Teacher Education
Carolyn T. Dang, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Anderson School of Management
Jorge Ricardo López-McKnight, Assistant Professor, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences
Lean Sweeney, Ph.D student
Cassie Smith, Ph.D Student, Anthropology
Annette M. Rodriguez, Lecturer, Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
Lani Gunawardena, Distinguished Professor, Organization, Information & Learning Sciences Barbara Reyes, Associate Professor, History Department
Robin Minthorn, Assistant Professor, TEELP and Native American Studies
Michael Flores, Core Writing Instructor, Department of English
Gail Houston, Professor, Department of English
Maria Lane, Associate Professor, Geography & Environmental Studies

Alex Ukropen, MA. Student, English
Stephanie Victoria Violette, History M.A.
Mariya Tseptsura, PhD Student, Department of English
Janet Harrison, MA student Art Education/Retiree
Anita Obermeier, Professor and Chair, Department of English
Erick Martinez, PhD Student, Department of English
Anjanette Griego, MA Student, Department of English
Anna Catharina Izoton Alves Mariano, Portuguese MA, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Jeanette Hart-Mann, Assistant Professor, Department of Art
Rosa Muñoz, PhD Candidate, Department of Psychology
Heather Johnson Lapahie, MFA Student and Instructor, Department of English Language and Literature
Ilse Biel, Alumna, Anthropology
Katelyn Bladel, MFA Candidate, Department of Art and Art History
Kelsey Serier, PhD Candidate, Department of Psychology
Florence Emilia Castillo, PhD Student, Department of Sociology
Carmen Nocentelli, Associate Professor, English & Foreign Languages
Cathy Arellano, Former Adjunct, Chicana and Chicano Studies Department
Babak Shahsiah, Graduate Student and Instructor of Record, Department of Art and Art History Kasim Ortiz, PhD Student, Department of Sociology & Criminology
Sara Siyavoshi, PhD Candidate, Department of Linguistics
Sallie Scheufler, Graduate Student and Instructor of Record, Department of Art and Art History Sushilla Knottenbelt, Lecturer III, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Nancy Lopez, Associate Professor, Sociology, Director and co-founder, Institute for the Study of “Race” & Social Justice, UNM
Mary Tsiongas, Professor, Art and Art History, Graduate Director
Steven Verney, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Amy L Brandzel, Associate Professor, American Studies and Women Studies
Kristina Kachele, Alumna, Department of Art & Art History
Durwood Ball, Associate Professor, Department of History
Garth Bawden, Professor Emeritus, Former Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Former Director of Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
Anne T Tafoya, PhD, Retired Associate Superintendent for Special Education Albuquerque Public Schools
Danny Hernandez, UNM Alumnus
Keith Prufer - Professor of Anthropology UNM
Calvin Burgstahler, Undergraduate Student, College of Fine Arts
William Michener, Professor, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences
Rachel McCaulley, Alumna, Department of Art & Art History
Daniel Mueller, Professor, Department of English
Laura Belmonte, Assistant Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies
Karra Shimabukuro, PhD candidate, English Department
Joseph A. Cook, Professor of Biology
Sharon Oard Warner, Professor, Department of English

Ricky Lee Allen, Associate Professor, Language, Literacy, & Sociocultural Studies Sara Bauman, HR Tech
Shoshana Handel, Staff, Department of Sociology
Nina Wallerstein, Professor, Public Health, College of Population Health
Marcial Martinez, Staff and Grad Student

Jara Carrington, PhD, Anthropology
Donald Natvig, Professor, Biology
Miria Kano, PhD, Director of Regional Coordination, GMaP Region 3, UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center
Richard Neil Greene, PhD Student, Department of Sociology

Scott D. Gullett, Ph.D., UNM Graduate and Educator
Mick Burson, UNM Graduate and Educator
Hayley Peterson, UNM Core Writing Instructor & MFA Creative Writing Student
Teresa Drenten, MA Student, Community and Regional Planning & Latin American Studies Amy Gore, Core Writing Instructor, PhD Candidate, Department of English Language and Literature
Jamal Martin, Faculty, Africana Studies/Family & Community Medicine, Director, Peace and Social Justice Studies

Sabrina Hernandez, J.D./MA Latin American Studies
Cindy Abel Morris, Staff, University Libraries
Ariel C. Wilson, MFA Graduate Student, Instructor of Record, Department of Art & Art History Rachel Gift, UNM Core Writing Instructor and Rhetoric and Writing MA Candidate

Erin Fussell, MFA Graduate Student, Instructor of Record, Department of Art & Art History Stephanie Beene, Assistant Professor, College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences Amy Johnson, MFA Graduate student, Instructor of record, Department of Art & Art History Maria Livaudaism PhD Student, Department of Political Science
John Guzmán Aguilar M.A. Student and Teaching Assistant, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Raychael Stine, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History
Hollis Moore, MFA Graduate Student, Instructor of Record, Department of Art & Art History Eric-Paul Riege, Undergraduate Student, Department of Art & Art History
Dr. Mary (Jiron-Belgarde) Lore, Associate Professor Emerita, LLSS
Elizabeth Howard, Ph.D., Special Education UNM
Catherine A. Snyder, Ph.D., Special Education, UNM
Francine Pacheco, MCRP/MHED Candidate, School of Architecture and Planning/College of Education
Adán Ávalos, Assistant Professor, Department of Cinematic ArtKathryn Wichelns, Assistant Professor, English
Dina Barajas, Graduate Student, Department of American Studies, UNM Stephanie M. Sanchez, Ph.D., Alumna
Rebecca Kitson, Adjunct Professor of Law, School of Law
Victoria Sanchez, DrPH, Associate Professor, College of Population Health Elizabeth Oliphant, Instructional Assistant, Dept of Cinematic Arts
Julia Echternach, Alumna, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, UNM
James Perea, Library Services Coordinator, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center Miguel Gande, Distinguished Professor of Communication and Journalism
Dolores García, MA, Dance History and Criticism, UNM Department of Theater and Dance Vivian Nora Felipe, UNM BA Psychology-Navajo Linguistics-CHicano Studies, Graduate Student, UNM Language Literacy and Sociocultural Studies
Diana Olivas, BA, Chicana/o Studies and Spanish, 2015
Jessica Helen Lopez, City of Albuquerque Poet Laureate Emeritus, UNM Adjunct Instructor/Chicana/o Studies Department
Therese Baca-Radler, UNM Term Teaching Faculty

MEChA
UNM Dream Team
Kiva Club
Queer Student Alliance
Kavita Krishna, M.A. 2014
Dr. Dolly Manson, Professor, University of New Mexico
Genevieve García de Müeller, PhD, 2015
Rick Robb, Adjunct Lecturer II, English


David Lynch is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at editorinchief@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.