After weeks of anticipation and lead up to an event some have heralded as “the free speech moment of the 21st century,” conservative commentator Ben Shapiro successfully spoke at UC Berkeley without extreme rioting or violence. The cost, however, was approximately $600,000 in security fees.
Concrete barriers lined the campus. Police were dressed in riot gear and armed with tear gas, which they were authorized by the City Council to use for the first time in two decades.
The university blocked off five buildings surrounding Zellerbach Hall, where the speech took place. In fact, law enforcement from all nine Bay Area counties had officers participating in the security measures.
Tickets were required for attendance and attendees had to pass through metal detectors to get inside Zellerbach Hall. Half the seats remained empty due to a “security assessment” prohibiting the use of the auditorium’s balcony. Extra security fees were lobbed on the sponsoring student group.