After presenting an event this month featuring conservative gay guest speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, a UC Irvine Republican club was told its privilege to book event space through the school’s Student Center would be revoked until the spring quarter of 2017.
The June 2 event featuring Yiannopoulos, technology editor for conservative website Breitbart.com, sparked hours of protests from some students and a line of more than 500 hoping to see him in a campus lecture hall.
The university released a statement Tuesday saying the student organization College Republicans at UCI has not been removed or suspended but that its room-booking privileges for club meetings and events were revoked because of a policy violation related to the private security hired to protect Yiannopoulos during his visit.
Shawn Steel, Republican national committeeman from California who also is the club’s advisor, arranged for the security, according to College Republicans President Ariana Rowlands.
“The group failed to provide the proof of insurance and brought the private security firm on campus anyway,” the statement says.
Restrictions on booking event space have been imposed on other campus organizations “that fail to provide adequate information regarding their events,” according to the statement.
Robert Petrosyan, the club’s chairman emeritus, said he was not told of the importance of the insurance certificate or the consequences of not providing one, according to a College Republicans news release.
“UCI administration has recently claimed that our club is not suspended and is merely barred from holding meetings and reserving rooms,” Petrosyan said in a statement. “However, as with any other club, our function is to meet and exercise our freedom of assembly, so such a suspension is an act of least resistance.”
The university said it takes “very seriously the right of the College Republicans and a wide variety of student groups to host events and speakers representing a diversity of ideas and perspectives.”
UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said the club can still meet in places not controlled by Student Center & Event Services, such as the Bren Events Center, classrooms, the Anteater Recreation Center and off-campus areas.
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