Dartmouth tells College Republicans it owes school $3,600 in securities fees for virtual event

Dartmouth College is forcing conservative students to pay $3600 in security fees for an in-person Andy Ngo event that was moved online in January due to Antifa threats.

The fee is being charged despite the administration forcing the January speaker event to be held virtually only two hours before it was set to begin.

Dartmouth College is forcing conservative students to pay $3600 in security fees for an in-person Andy Ngo event that was moved online in January due to Antifa threats.  

Emails obtained by Campus Reform show that the College Republicans were denied a funding request in April to host Project Veritas Founder James O’Keefe by the Council on Student Organizations due to the outstanding debt. 

Because the debt was not paid, the Council ruled the club to not be “in good standing.”

“The COSO Board discussed your request again yesterday (4/13) and will not be able to make an exception at this point. The College Republicans are not in good standing with COSO and therefore COSO will not be able to fund your group until the deficit is addressed,” COSO stated in an Apr. 14 email.

It continued, “We would also like to clarify that COSO did not approve you to spend into the negative for your next event.”

Campus Reform covered the Ngo incident in January. 

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Journalist Andy Ngo on how Antifa wants to 'destroy democracy']

College Republicans Vice President Chloe Ezzo responded to the accusation and pushed back by calling the claim “normative and ultimately subjective.”

Ezzo is also a Campus Reform correspondent. 

“We would not have incurred this debt if the Dartmouth administration had given us the courtesy of canceling our in-person event before the very last minute. Police presence are not required at a Zoom event,” Ezzo argued. “In our meeting, we had said that our first course of action was to dispute the charge, and if that was not possible, we could try to fundraise somehow.”

Ezzo then accused the Council of forcing the group to choose between suspending operations or incurring a higher debt. This, she said, is due to the intolerance and violent threats hurled by left-wing students toward conservative speakers.

“Beyond this, the only reason our club needs this much security for events is because of the leftist students making threats. It's very simple to make anonymous online threats, and their goal is to either get our events canceled or make them so expensive that the costs are exorbitant thus preventing us from operating,” she wrote. “I understand that other events have required security, but I can't imagine that any other student group needed New Hampshire S.W.A.T. present at a speaking event.”

The event refers to a speaker event hosted by the group on Jan. 20 featuring Conservative Journalist Andy Ngo and former Antifa activist Gabriel Nadales. While intended to be held in person, the university forced the event to go remote two hours before the speakers were set to take the stage after a series of security threats posed by left-wing organizations.

Ezzo confirmed with Campus Reform that the club would not be in debt if the administration had given sufficient notice.

The amount requested from COSO varied, according to an email from Dartmouth student Victoria Xiao. Originally, the group attempted to request the honorarium to host O’Keefe on campus, and then requested a $450 security fee. Both were denied.

“What is particularly troubling is that the failure to complete the formal process of requesting security funds was exactly how we got into debt in the first place, and now we are made to fail to complete such a formal process because of that,” Xiao wrote.

“This tells us that what is demanded of us to show good faith is none other than to cease all activity that may anger our peers and require security. Therefore, we can only perceive COSO's unwillingness to take our circumstances into consideration and prevent the same exact funding issue from happening again as a breaching of good faith.”

She continued, “I hope it is clear that we are Dartmouth female students facing physical threats on campus and beyond for our political views, and we receive no support from COSO but the message that we should stay silent.” 

The students' plight was supported in the email chain by Professor of Anthropology Sergei Kan, who expressed his disappointment with COSO’s decision.

[RELATED: SLU students petition to bar Matt Walsh from campus. Walsh counters.]

“At the end of our Wednesday meeting, I was under the impression that you were willing to grant College Republicans some funding, since they promised you to make a good will effort to eliminate their existing debt,” he said. “I guess my impression was wrong.”

The chapter was successful in hosting O’Keefe on campus on Apr. 20 and the investigative journalist spoke to a crowd of approximately 100 people, per reporting from The Dartmouth

The chapter addressed the debt in a Twitter thread regarding the event, stating that while the event was still being held, every event will continue to increase its debt until it’s “so high we won’t be able to operate.”

“We weren’t prevented from having this James O’Keefe event, but we were given no funding for it,” Ezzo told Campus Reform“It’s a huge problem moving forward, because unless we suspend our club operations, and unless we stop saying anything that could upset our peers or anger our peers and require security, we’re just going to continue to get more and more in debt to the point where we’ll never be able to pay it back.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has written about the ordeal, sent a letter to Dartmouth College demanding that the charges be rescinded. 

FIRE Program Officer for the Individual Rights Defense Program Sabrina Conza told Campus Reform that the charges equate to "taxing speech."

"Dartmouth is essentially taxing speech to which others may object and curtailing the free exchange of ideas on campus," she said. "This cannot stand at a university that promises students robust expressive rights."  

Campus Reform has contacted Dartmouth College and every individual mentioned in this article for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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