An appearance in mid-December at North Dakota State University by a speaker from the self-described alt-right publication Breitbart News has been canceled.
The school's student Republican group said Monday that Milo Yiannopoulos pulled the plug on his Dec. 16 stop because of concerns that protesters on both sides of the Dakota Access Pipeline dispute would be disruptive and potentially violent.
Yiannopoulos' appearance was arranged by the NDSU College Republicans and touted months ahead of time as "one of the biggest events in NDSU history!"
For the past year or so, Yiannopoulos has emerged as a YouTube star for the so-called alt-right, an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism.
Jamal Omar, vice chairman of the campus College Republicans, told the Star Tribune in an e-mail that several hundred people were expected, but "we canceled due to concerns from both protest groups creating violence. Our frustration stems from destructive non-college students creating violence, but we welcomed ALL peaceful demonstrators, however, that became painfully clear it wasn't the case."
In response to the cancellation, Yiannopoulos told Breitbart News, "We couldn't risk student safety. I might have to go visit these ridiculous troublemakers at the pipeline itself."
Breitbart News, whose CEO Steve Bannon stepped down to help guide Donald Trump to presidential victory last month, added that the event also "was suddenly hit with a large security fee increase," a tactic that the alt-right outlet says has been used by other colleges "to censor Milo."
A spokeswoman for NDSU said the fee was not increased in response to any security concerns and is standard for such events. Omar added that the school was helpful in setting up the event and was charging $1,500 for rental of two rooms, information technology support and five security officers.
At Minnesota State University, Mankato, where Yiannopoulos is scheduled to speak Dec. 15, event organizers and university officials came to an agreement that kept increased security costs from threatening to have the appearance canceled.
In February, a boisterous protest at the University of Minnesota greeted Yiannopoulos for what the adversaries called hate speech. Yiannopoulos packed the 250-seat auditorium at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs along with author Christina Hoff Sommers, while about 40 protesters gathered outside chanting, "Yiannopoulos, out of Minneapolis!"
Among his favorite themes: what he calls the exaggerated myth of a "rape culture" on campuses, and the frequently cited statistic that women are paid less than men for the same work.