Update: This article was updated at 5:48 p.m. on Nov. 17 to include data and comments from Vice President of Administration and FInance Danny Kim.
Current estimates by Cal State Fullerton suggest there will be an approximate $90,000 price tag for Milo Yiannopoulos’ Oct. 31 visit to campus.
The largest portion of expenses is $32,000 for the fencing that was put up a day before the event, according to estimated security costs as of Nov. 16 provided by Danny Kim, CSUF vice president of Administration and Finance.
Over $30,000 were also spent paying CSUF University Police officers, University of California Police officers and providing security meals for law enforcement at the event.
“I know that $90,000 is a lot of money, and it is, but in the context of providing a safe environment for our students and off-campus guests, we do not want to compromise safety over saving budget,” Kim said.
This cost is only to date, said Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook, which means in the next few weeks the number is subject to change.
“The items that are still being worked out are security costs still billable to the university by outside agencies, versus what is part of any existing mutual aid agreements,” Cook said. “That is the piece that’s still in flux, so the costs might not grow at all or they might grow somewhat.”
The cost estimated does not include Yiannopoulos’ pay, and will be solely the responsibility of the university.
“Students will not be receiving a bill for any of the costs associated with the event,” Cook said. “There isn’t even a mechanism for doing that.”
University Police has been in charge of compiling the expenses from Halloween, said University Police Capt. Scot Willey.
He said there were about 30 different agencies with approximately 275 officers on campus that day, and that most of the agencies, including those that directly work with University Police like North County SWAT, sent officers to CSUF free of charge due to the “amazing working relationship” they’ve built over the years.
“I’ve been blown away by the response of all the Orange County agencies thus far. It’s just been amazing working with them,” Willey said. “The second we put out the word that we were going to need help with this … We had everyone in Orange County saying, ‘Let us know what you need, and we’ll send you everyone we have.’”
It was necessary to ask for mutual aid because University Police only has 30 officers. Willey said this was the first time the university asked for this kind of assistance since the CSUF lockdown on Dec. 12, 2012. However, he said one or two of the agencies may still ask to be reimbursed, which is why the current $89,956.77 total is still tentative.
About $10,300 were spent on lodging and food for the statewide CSU Critical Response Unit. This unit can be called to any of the 23 CSU campuses if they have an event or issue that needs more of a police presence.
“The agreement is the Chancellor’s Office pays for the overtime, and the host department pays for the lodging,” Willey said.
University Police and the Division of Administration and Finance both look at Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro’s visits to UC Berkeley as positive comparisons to how much CSUF spent.
“I think if you look at Berkley just a couple months ago … The Ben Shapiro event was $600,000 and they had hundreds of officers there, double or triple what we had … But we are always fiscally responsible on our end no matter what the event is,” Willey said.
Although Willey said they did everything they could to keep expenses down, he agreed with Kim that safety was the university’s No. 1 concern no matter the cost.
“I’m not sure if there were necessarily expectations about the final cost, as safety was the top concern,” Cook said. “I think that for many, there was probably an expectation that the costs would be at least what they are to date.”
The university expects to have a finalized cost some time in December. Cook said the approximate $90,000 is for university expenses only, independent of what the College Republicans club have to pay for arrangements inside the venue.
Kim said the costs will primarily be addressed through three sources. Extra savings in the University Police and facilities operating budgets will first be allotted, and whatever remains will be covered by the university’s reserve.
“The units on campus responsible for the operation typically must fund their costs, so security is under the police,” Kim said. “Same thing with facilities, fencing and facilities-related expenditures fall under the purview of facilities maintenance.”
No funds in either operating budget will be pulled away from other expenditures.
Willey said CSUF should be proud of the fact that Yiannopoulos spoke on campus, unlike at other venues where his appearances were canceled, with overall only “minor issues, minor arrests and minor injuries.”
“There were some skirmishes and smaller incidents that could have escalated had it not been for our police officers and command staff who took the right, appropriate actions to mitigate any potential problems,” Kim said.
Willey said the issues at the event came from outside agitators, that the campus community kept everything peaceful. That helped officers leave earlier than expected, which helped lower the event’s overall cost for the university.
“For what we were expected to do to make it safe and how that was accomplished over four months of planning, even on the protest side, I just think everybody should be very proud,” Willey said.