Free Speech Silenced at Berkeley, Coulter Vows to Defy
California university cancels event with conservative speaker, cites threat of leftist violence
An appearance by conservative author Ann Coulter at the University of California at Berkeley scheduled for Thursday, April 27, was cancelled on Wednesday morning — but Coulter has vowed to appear anyway.
Berkeley has seen a number of violent protests against conservative speakers, and it appears the university wishes to avoid a similar incident.
“I’m definitely speaking next Thursday at Berkeley.”
“Given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully — or that the safety of Ms. Coulter, the event sponsors, audience, and bystanders could be adequately protected — at any of the campus venues,” the university said in an email announcing the cancellation.
In February, a scheduled talk by alt-right journalist Milo Yiannopoulos was cancelled at the last minute as violence erupted in front of its designated location. Only last weekend, a number of left-wing radicals — members of “Antifa,” also known as “Black bloc,” protesters — attacked a free-speech rally held on Berkeley’s campus.
The university’s concern for Coulter’s safety is likely not the only reason for the cancellation, as evidenced by the numerous barricades administrators tried to erect to scheduling the event in the first place. The university had already made Coulter agree on a number of conditions allegedly designed to ensure the event would be held successfully.
“I acceded to Berkeley’s every silly demand (never made of lib speakers). Called their bluff & they canceled anyway,” Coulter tweeted on Wednesday.
“UC-Berkeley, a publicly funded university, first imposed a series of ridiculous requirements on the speech allegedly in the name of ‘safety,’ said the Young Americans Foundation, the organization that invited Coulter to campus, in an official statement.
“Coulter, we were informed, would be required to deliver her speech in the afternoon; only students would be allowed to attend; and the speech location would not be announced until close to the event,” the statement continued. “Against our advice, Coulter agreed to all these requirements. In return, she requested two measures, which actually had something to do with safety,” the YAF statement explained.
First, that “the University of California chancellor request that the Oakland chief of police refrain from telling his men to stand down and ignore law-breaking by rioters attempting to shut down conservative speakers, as he has done in the past; and …. [t]hat UC-Berkeley announce in advance that any students engaging in violence, mayhem, or heckling to prevent an invited speaker from speaking would be expelled.”
"As Coulter explained, 'If Berkeley wants to have free speech, it can have it,'" the statement continued. "The university's response was to ban her speech."
Coulter has vowed to defy the cancellation from Berkeley administrators.
"I'm definitely speaking next Thursday at Berkeley," Coulter told Fox News host Tucker Carlson Wednesday night. "I'm definitely giving the speech, I was invited to give the speech."