Milo Yiannopoulos will not be coming to Cal State Bakersfield.
The CSUB College Republicans group, facing a deadline Friday to finalize an Oct. 25 speaking event with university officials, has dropped its efforts to bring the controversial conservative firebrand to Bakersfield.
A statement issued by the group argued that “arbitrary” enforcement of CSUB’s event policies “makes it impossible for a group like ours to afford Milo’s speaking fees unless we can charge for tickets to the public.”
Yiannopoulos was charging $20,000 for his visit, according to a letter written by an attorney for the College Republicans last week.
In Friday’s statement, the group claimed that the university’s commercial use policy “leaves the door open for the university to arbitrarily decide how, when and to what extent it wishes to restrict any event it classifies as commercial.”
But, the statement said, “this is not the hill we wish to die on.”
So the group stopped fighting.
“CSUB has received word from the College Republicans today that they ‘will not be moving forward with the Milo event,'" CSUB Director of Public Affairs and Communications Michael Lukens in an emailed statement. "CSUB remains committed to freedom of expression on campus and also remains committed to working with and supporting our student organizations."
Jake Thomasy, a past leader of CSUB College Republicans, said someone brought the idea of inviting Yiannopoulos to Cal State Bakersfield to him.
“As the past president, I took it to the group and it’s been a group effort from there,” Thomasy said.
But bringing the gay former Breitbart editor to Bakersfield has drawn fire from prominent local Republicans who said his unique brand of confrontational dialogue and extreme stances on issues like statutory rape don’t represent the Republican Party.
And on Friday the Kern County Young Republicans group added its voice.
“We do not find it prudent for a Republican organization to invite a non-Republican non-citizen who holds and trumpets positions far removed from conservatism. He is prone to foul language and despicable public antics. Further, his honorarium makes hosting him beyond the realm of most grassroots organizations, especially college students,” the statement from the Young Republicans reads.
The statement, signed by Young Republicans officers Tyler Johnson, Javier Reyes, Nathan Banks, Matthew Martin and Alexandra Cody, encouraged the CSUB College Republicans to look for a “legitimate Republican speaker” to invite to the university.
Rumors that the College Republicans had invited Yiannopoulos to CSUB began to surface on social media two weeks ago.
The rumors were confirmed on Sept. 19 when lawyer William Becker Jr. of the Freedom X law firm sent a letter to CSUB officials stating their policies were unjustly compromising the College Republicans’ rights to hold a free speech event at the university.
Its commercial use policy, he wrote, prevented the College Republicans from selling tickets for Yiannopoulos’ planned speech to the general public on Oct. 25 in the Icardo Center.
Just days later, CSUB lawyer Chelsea Epps responded to Becker’s letter with a missive explaining the university’s policies and saying that CSUB was willing to host Yiannopoulos.
But, Epps wrote, the College Republicans would need to either make the event open to the public for free or sell tickets only to CSUB students, who could each buy extra tickets for up to two guests.
She extended a Monday deadline to finalize the Yiannopoulos visit to Friday.
On Friday the College Republicans cancelled the event.