By Nicole Silverio
Dartmouth College reportedly demanded the College Republicans (CR’s) pay a $3,600 “security fee” after a Jan. 20 event moved to online due to safety concerns.
The Jan. 20 event, hosted by the CR’s, Turning Point USA and the Network of Enlightened Women, was set to host conservative journalist Andy Ngo, according to Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The college allegedly forced the event to move online due to unspecified safety concerns raised by the Hanover Police Department.
There were reports of planned protests by Dartmouth Anarchists, an anonymous group on campus, and Northeast Antifa, Just the News reported. The department released records of disturbing Reddit posts with calls to “destroy” the students’ “livelihood,” then later told FIRE they did not recommend for the college to take action.
In an April 18 letter, FIRE told Dartmouth they were “astounded” by the fee placed on the club that “infringes the expressive and associational rights” of the students. (RELATED: Public University Foists Heavy Security Fee On College Republicans To Host Milo)
“Forcing the group to shoulder these security costs — based on detractors’ disruption at no fault of the college Republicans — and refusing to fund future College Republicans events until these exorbitant fees are paid, infringes the expressive and associational rights Dartmouth promises its students,” the letter said. “Dartmouth must immediately rescind the security fee charge it imposed on the College Republicans and allow them to request funding to host future events.”
What is going on at @Dartmouth?
First it canceled an in-person College Republicans event featuring @MrAndyNgo. Now it’s demanding the chapter pay $3,600 in security fees for the CANCELED event or else it cannot request further funds from the university.
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) April 18, 2022
The college doubled down in a March 7 letter to FIRE, upholding their commitment to safety concerns and arguing their decision defended free speech.
“The safety of those within the Dartmouth community and those who visit our campus is of the utmost importance,” the school said. “So we are pleased that the College Republicans were able to hold the Andy Ngo event safely and without harm coming to any person on our campus. Contrary to what you say, this is an outcome that prizes and defends free speech and the safety of our community.”
Event security fees have become common among college events, particularly conservative clubs. Dartmouth CRs President Chloe Ezzo learned of the fee after she had applied for funding to host Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, Just the News reported.
The 18-member Council on Student Organizations did not mention the security bill until requesting funding for a second time, the outlet reported. One member of the council suggested a prohibited alumni fundraiser to help pay the debt, Ezzo said. They then rejected her request for a $450 token to help cover the fee, meaning the Department of Safety and Security may charge the club with an unknown amount.
“We might come out of this event with four grand of debt,” she said. “I feel like we’re set up to fail.”
Ngo, the event’s speaker, said Portland Antifa offered money to anyone who assaulted him at the event, Just the News reported. A New York Antifa group threatened violence saying he should have “a milkshake welcome,” referencing a 2019 assault that caused a brain injury.