ASU paid $11k in security costs for a white nationalist who spoke on campus in 2022
Attendees of the ASU CRU event with white nationalist Jared Taylor clash with protesters outside of Neeb Hall at ASU after leaving the event. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror
Arizona State University spent more than $11,000 on security for a speech on campus by white nationalist Jared Taylor last year, public records show.
In September 2022, the far-right student group Arizona State University College Republicans United invited Taylor to speak. Two days prior, the group hosted Kai Schwemmer, an associate of white supremacist Nick Fuentes, and other members of Fuentes’ “groyper army.”
The Mirror requested records related to the event’s security shortly after the event took place. ASU took 390 days to release the documents, which show the ASU Police Department paid for the event’s additional security as well as the salaries of ASU PD and Tempe Police Officers.
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“We are required by state statute to address the security of individuals attending a speaker event on campus, and especially with potentially contentious events, there is a cost we incur to make the event as safe as possible for speakers and attendees,” an ASU spokesman said in a statement to the Mirror.
“As far as who covers the security costs, it varies by event. The documents you were provided contain the costs incurred for this specific event,” the spokesman for ASU said. “Also please note that Arizona State University permits registered student organizations to host guest speakers and use university facilities for student events. The presence of an invited speaker on campus does not in any way imply university endorsement.”
The event garnered controversy in the days leading up to it. Taylor has a history of racism going back to the 1990s, when he created a think tank that aimed to create research proving the superiority of whites.
The event was titled “If We Do Nothing: A Defense of White Identity Politics,” which refers to one of Taylor’s books.
The national College Republicans United group, which oversees chapters at ASU and other campuses across the country, recommends one of Taylor’s books under a section titled “First Set of Red Pills.” The college group also suggests antisemitic books and books by other known white nationalists.
The group barred some of its critics from attending the event, using homophobic slurs when denying them entry.
The records obtained by the Mirror show that ASUPD was in communication with the group regarding security and paid for additional security services from event management and security group ProEm.
ASUPD rented equipment such as metal detectors from ProEm, but the group wasn’t the only outside help. The University Police Department paid for two members of the Tempe Police Department to assist in the event.
In total, ASUPD paid $11,294.64 to provide security for the event. State law says that a university “shall make reasonable efforts and make available reasonable resources to address the safety of an invited speaker and other persons in attendance.”
The law prohibits the university from charging security fees “based on the content of the speech of the person who invited a speaker or of the invited speaker.” The university is also allowed to “restrict the use of its nonpublic facilities to invited individuals.”
The event took place at one of ASU’s largest conference halls and drew ire from ASU students who saw the event taking place there as ASU tacitly endorsing Taylor’s white supremacist views. The university said his presence on campus was “not an endorsement” and stated they were allowing a student group to have an invited speaker.
Although ASUPD paid for the event, emails obtained by the Mirror show that those involved were looking to see if the university might foot the bill.
“[L]ets make sure we keep all these costs together so we can show the university the costs and hopefully come to a better resolution on who is paying for these things in the future,” one ASUPD commander said in an email chain about obtaining additional resources from ProEm.
This isn’t the first time ASU CRU has hosted speakers with such beliefs.
In 2021, the group hosted Vincent James Foxx, a white supremacist who has filmed and incited violence at protests featuring neo-Nazi groups. ASU CRU also has hosted other white nationalists connected to Fuentes’ “groyper” movement.
One of the groups’ former members, Rick Thomas, was caught in leaked messages to the Phoenix New Times sharing homophobic and antisemitic views. Thomas was the club’s founder and was present at the event with Taylor.
Other notable people who showed up for the event were former GOP lawmaker David Stringer, who resigned after refusing to cooperate with an ethics investigation into 1983 molestation charges he faced. Stringer also has made a number of racist comments in the past, one of which was at ASU.
Local antisemite and Fuentes acolyte Kyle Clifton was also present at the event, as were other notable “groypers.” ASU CRU also recently made headlines when an event featuring Fuentes also featured prominent members of the Arizona Republican party who later disavowed the event.
***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that an Arizona law allows a university to charge security fees based on the content of what an invited speaker says in remarks delivered on its campus; the law actually prohibits such security fees from being charged.
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